Muschamp hires two including OC Charlie Weis

One day after announcing that he retained three assistant coaches and hired two others, new Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp officially named Charlie Weis his offensive coordinator and Frank Verducci his offensive line/running game coordinator.

“Charlie was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in an offensive coordinator,” Muschamp said. “He has both college and pro experience and has been a play-caller in the NFL. He has four Super Bowl rings and his accomplishments and his ability to develop quarterbacks speak for themselves.’’

As expected, Weis will remain in the same role with his current employer, the Kansas City Chiefs, through their NFL Playoffs run. He will also coach quarterbacks at UF.

“We hope the Chiefs make a run to the Super Bowl – it would be great for the Chiefs and great for the Gators,’’ Muschamp added. “Everyone involved with the Kansas City organization has been first class about the transition.”

Weis was excited about his new job and chance to coach alongside his son. “To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time … is almost a dream,” he said Sunday evening.

Verducci is a 28-year coaching veteran who spent 19 seasons in college (at Colorado State, Maryland, Northern Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa) before working eight of 10 years in the NFL (with Cincinnati, Dallas, Buffalo and Cleveland) prior to returning to the NCAA with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish under Weis in 2009.

“Frank will bring a sense of toughness and a physical style of play from our offensive line,” said Muschamp in a team-released statement. “It is important that the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator work closely together and always be on the same page. Charlie and Frank had that together at Notre Dame in 2009 and they will have a cohesive plan for the Gators.”

Florida also announced the hiring of a new assistant athletic director for football operations in George Wynn, a former teammate of Muschamp’s at Georgia who has held the same position for the last six years with the Texas Longhorns.

“George and I played college football together and I’ve known him for close to 20 years,” Muschamp said. “George has a unique combination of administrative, compliance and football experience. He will work hand in hand with our various departments to help run the day-to-day operations of the football department and has always had great relationships with the student-athletes.”

The Gators are still looking to hire a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach and have two coaching positions available (NCAA limit: nine assistants).

Position20102011
Offensive coordinatorSteve AddazioCharlie Weis
Quarterbacks coachScot LoefflerCharlie Weis
Defensive coordinatorTeryl AustinDan Quinn
Defensive line coachDan McCarney*Dan Quinn
Assistant: Bryant Young
Running backs coach
Recruiting coordinator
Stan DraytonBrian White
Offensive line coach
Running game coordinator
Steve AddazioFrank Verducci
Wide receivers coach
Recruiting coordinator
Zach AzzanniAubrey Hill
Tight ends coachBrian WhiteDerek Lewis
Linebackers coach
Special teams coordinator
D.J. DurkinD.J. Durkin
Defensive backs coachAustin/Chuck Heater*Travaris Robinson
Strength & conditioningMickey MarottiMickey Marotti

*McCarney was also assistant head coach; Heater held the role of co-defensive coordinator. Muschamp has not named an assistant (or associate) head coach as of press time.

Photo Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

Meyer, Black present game ball to Ian Lockwood

Before former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer began his final press conference and after senior safety Ahmad Black received the 2011 Outback Bowl MVP award, Meyer made a special point to present a game ball to Ian Lockwood.

Look at Florida’s player roster or ledger of support staff and Lockwood’s name will not be found, but he played an important role in bringing the team together with a common goal in mind: send Meyer and the seniors out on a positive note and give Ian something to smile about during a trying time in his life.

A patient at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL, Lockwood is receiving treatments for brain cancer and recently underwent his second procedure. He was a successful high school football player who had to stop playing on Oct. 8 due to an aggressive brain cancer that doctors are trying to thwart and prevent from spreading further.

Meyer had this to say upon introducing Lockwood:

“One of my dear friends, Ian Lockwood, about a year and a half ago I met Ian. The young man, his love and passion for football is second-to-none,” he said. “We became very good friends. He had football taken away from him. He’s been with our team a bunch; we spent a lot of time together. I asked these guys to do whatever we possibly could do to get a game ball to Ian Lockwood. And that meant you had to go four quarters as hard as you possibly can and find a way to bring that ball and brighten someone’s day.”

The ball Lockwood received? None other than the one Black picked off and returned 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the game.

“I met Ian around the same time coach did,” Black said, “so he means just as much to me as he do to coach. It was our goal and objective to win the game for Ian. So thank you, I appreciate you.”

Stepping up to the microphone, Lockwood was visibly nervous but seemed to know exactly what to say, just like he did to the Gators before they took the field.

“This means a lot to me. Coming into Shands for treatments, [they were] always there from the beginning,” he said. “Football is definitely life to me. It is good to always have an organization there for you to support you whenever you need it. My team back at home, I played six games my senior season and came up short after another brain surgery. Finished the other six out with these guys. So it was pretty good. Thanks Ahmad. Thanks Coach.”

Turning around to give both men hugs, Lockwood’s embrace with Meyer lasted just a bit longer and ended with a whispered “I love you” from the future Hall of Fame head coach to the former high school football player.

Weis says chance to coach at UF “almost a dream”

In an exclusive interview with the Kansas City Star Sunday evening, current Kansas City Chiefs and future Florida Gators offensive coordinator called the opportunity to coach at the University of Florida while his son attends school there “almost a dream.”

Weis, who will stay on with the Chiefs through the duration of the 2010 NFL Playoffs, said he decided to accept the Gators job because it is a unique opportunity to do what he loves while simultaneously seeing and working with his son each day.

“This was a really tough decision for the Weis family,’’ he said. “This opportunity is one of those unique situations where I can go to a great institution where my son goes to matriculate and be able to spend the next bunch of years watching my son grow.

“He wants to coach. It took us very long to try to find a place where he could be involved with the football program in a student assistant capacity. When I finally did talk to [Florida head coach] Will [Muschamp], we chatted about that and then we talked about me. I had to really reflect on that, spend time with my wife and [my son]. We talked about a whole bunch of things and at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody could understand how wonderful an opportunity it would be to be able to work at a place and see your kid on a daily basis.

“It’s a tough business. To go to a program like Florida and be able to be around my kid at the same time … is almost a dream.”

Sports talk radio host Heath Cline notified OGGOA on Twitter that Weis’s son was originally planning to attend the University of Texas and serve as a student assistant under Muschamp with the Texas Longhorns. His move to Florida comes as a result of Muschamp’s, hence unique opportunity for his father.

A notorious family man, Weis said he is friends with Muschamp and that family issues were the catalyst for the decision to leave the NFL for college football. Though Weis likely had initial conversations with Muschamp about the opportunity, he says he had not made a final decision when news of his hire was initially reported.

“I didn’t even talk about the job until I got home at 10 o’clock at night,” he told the paper.

Weis also denied rumors that he had a falling out with Kansas City head coach Todd Haley. “I almost get offended when people say that,” he said. “People always want to look for a different angle for why you’re doing [something]. … This decision had absolutely zero to do with relationships in Kansas City.”

OGGOA RELATED: Charlie Weis to be named Gators OC Monday

Photo Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

Muschamp names five coaches, retains three

New Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced the first five members of his coaching staff on Sunday in an official statement from the University of Florida.

Muschamp decided to retain current Florida running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton, linebackers coach/special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin and tight ends coach Brian White. He also confirmed that former Gators pass catcher Aubrey Hill had been hired as wide receivers coach and announced that former Auburn Tigers All-SEC first team cornerback Travaris Robinson will coach the defensive backs.

“I thought it was important to have some continuity in the staff – D.J., Stan and Brian bring that to the table,” Muschamp said. “They are also solid recruiters. Aubrey is obviously a Gator, and it’s always a plus when you have someone coach at their alma mater. He understands the passion and the expectations here, and I know he is excited to return to Gainesville.

“Travaris worked on our staff and Auburn is a winner. He has competed at the highest level in this sport and is a good young coach with strong ties to the South Florida area, which will benefit us in recruiting.”

A Miami, FL native, Hill is a Gators alum who played for head coach Steve Spurrier from 1991-94 when Florida won their first three Southeastern Conference Championships. He served as a graduate assistant under Spurrier from 1996-98 and has coached wide receivers since 1999 including stints at Duke (1999-2003), Elon (2004), Pittsburgh (2005-07) and Miami (2008-10). He served as the Hurricanes recruiting coordinator only for the 2010 season.

Robinson is a four-time letterwinner for Auburn (1999-2002) who played two years in the NFL and worked as a graduate assistant under Muschamp when he was the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. Also a native of Miami, he coached at Western Kentucky (2008) and Southern Miss (2009) before being hired to the Texas Tech Red Raiders staff as an assistant secondary coach by former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio, who has been hired as head coach of the Temple Owls, will be replaced by Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis with an announcement expected for Monday. Associate head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney left the team before its bowl game to take the top job with the North Texas Mean Green.

Position20102011
Offensive coordinatorSteve AddazioCharlie Weis
Quarterbacks coachScot LoefflerCharlie Weis
Defensive coordinatorTeryl AustinDan Quinn
Defensive line coachDan McCarney*Dan Quinn
Assistant: Bryant Young
Running backs coach
Recruiting coordinator
Stan DraytonBrian White
Offensive line coach
Running game coordinator
Steve AddazioFrank Verducci
Wide receivers coach
Recruiting coordinator
Zach AzzanniAubrey Hill
Tight ends coachBrian WhiteDerek Lewis
Linebackers coach
Special teams coordinator
D.J. DurkinD.J. Durkin
Defensive backs coachAustin/Chuck Heater*Travaris Robinson
Strength & conditioningMickey MarottiMickey Marotti

*McCarney was also assistant head coach; Heater held the role of co-defensive coordinator.

2011 Outback Bowl post-game news and notes

With the 2011 Outback Bowl now in the books and the Florida Gators set to undergo a major shake-up on the coaching staff and within the program, this is as good of a time as any to share some news and notes that OGGOA picked up over the past weekend.

SENIOR BOWL PARTICIPANTS

A source close to the players told OGGOA on Saturday that senior safety Ahmad Black, senior center/guard Mike Pouncey and redshirt senior offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert will all participate in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl.

UPDATE: When rosters were officially announced on Sunday, punter/kicker Chas Henry has also accepted an invitation to play on Jan. 29.

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow – the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft – and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper both participated in the game last year.

JUNIORS DECLARING FOR THE DRAFT

Though nothing has been officially confirmed, most close to the program believe junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins will indeed declare for the 2011 NFL Draft. Jenkins, considered to be one of the top three defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) available, is projected as a first round pick even though he is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder (an injury he played with most of the season).

Also expected to declare is junior S Will Hill, who was projected to be a high pick before the season but has failed to live up to the expectations of both analysts and fans. ESPN grades Hill out as a 68 in its “draftable defensive backs” projections, eight points below Black (76) and 24 under Jenkins (92). In addition to his on-the-field problems, Hill is believed to have a poor attitude off the field and has been disciplined numerous times this past season. People he has spoken with personally have been told he will not be returning to Florida for his senior year.

WALKING OFF THE FIELD BEFORE CELEBRATING

Though a number of the Gators’ injured players – including those who were hurt during the game – remained on the field to celebrate after Florida’s 37-24 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions, a few healthy players ran directly into the locker room instead. Hill, redshirt senior wide receivers Carl Moore and Justin Williams and redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose all hurried off the field. Though Hill is likely to declare for the draft and both Moore and Williams are leaving/graduating, Debose’s departure was curious.

Checking in on Debose, OGGOA has learned that he has been quite disappointed with his time at UF thus far, a feeling that is not surprising considering he missed his first season due to injury and was only used sparingly in 2010 as a kick returner even though he showed explosive ability and the Gators struggled offensively. A source close to the team told us that Debose does not practice nearly as hard as the other young receivers and truly does not have a full grasp of the playbook, something head coach Urban Meyer noted early in the season. Not to make a mountain out of a mole hill – Debose simply could have been exhausted or sick or feeling down after being benched due to muffing two kickoffs – his exit from the field so suddenly is worth noting.

With a new coaching staff coming in and the ability to get a fresh start with an offensive coordinator and position coach, Debose may be getting exactly what he needs.

TWO OTHER CURRENT COACHES ARE GONE

In addition to offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin moving on, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed that co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater (surprisingly) and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni (not surprisingly) will not be retained. “I will not be back next year,” Heater told the paper. With reports that Florida has hired former player Aubrey Hill as their new WR coach, Azzanni’s departure is not as much of a shock as Heater’s.

QUARTERBACKING YOUR 2011 GATORS IS…

Perhaps the most important position on the field – quarterback – is the Gators biggest question from a personnel perspective going into next season. Though redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed said he was perfectly fine with moving to tight end to start the season, he has showed some ability behind center and may hope to get that opportunity in a spread offense elsewhere. Redshirt junior QB John Brantley, who has publicly acknowledged he is considering transferring, will have a pro-style offense in place at Florida should he choose to stay. Their decisions could be independent or related depending what Muschamp has to say and what Brantley’s family helps him decide.

1/1: Meyer, Black speak after Outback Bowl win

The Florida Gators defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 37-24 at the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL on Saturday afternoon. Below are quotes from head coach Urban Meyer and game MVP senior safety Ahmad Black (as well as thoughts from freshman cornerback Cody Riggs and Penn State head coach Joe Paterno), all of whom spoke with the media immediately after the contest.

HEAD COACH URBAN MEYER

On Black winning the MVP: “I think that’s rather appropriate that Ahmad Black, the best safety in college football, won that [MVP] award.”

Opening statement thank yous: “I have a lot of people to thank. Obviously I want to acknowledge Penn State – that was a tough crew. That defensive line, our guys told me, was as tough and physical as anyone we’ve had to go against all year. Obviously Joe Paterno, the finest coach in all of college football history. And the Penn State University, that was a classy game. That was two teams going as hard as they possibly can. Not a bunch of nonsense going on. Just playing hard. It was a honor to coach in that game.”

On his halftime speech and turning the game around: “Our goal was to get to the second level somehow and they were doing a very good job. When you have three weeks to prepare, Penn State did a heck of a job. They made some adjustments on their defense. They did some stuff that they hadn’t shown, but we knew they would do that. I thought Coach [Steve] Addazio did a heck of a job. Jordan Reed is a hell of a player. Jordan Reed did a great job moving that offense. With it up-tempo, I think they wore out a little bit. I think possession time was substantial for the Gators in that second half and you could see them start to give a little bit. Our defense was hanging in there the whole game. We were awful in the first half on offense, but we came back with special teams and in the second half our offense played very good.”

On his letter to Paterno: “I’ve said that’s been the story all week and it’s all true. He will go down as the greatest football coach in the history of the game, and he should. Every young coach, in my opinion, should take a lesson from him, not some of this other stuff going on. If I ever start a coaching school, I am going to make everybody do a book report on Joe Paterno and say that’s the way you should act in coaching. That’s college football. And that’s what players should take away from a guy like him. You just don’t want to lose that man. You don’t want to lose what college football is. That was college football out there today.”

On singing the alma mater and fight song with the crowd: “My wife started crying, so she choked me up a little bit. You could obviously see what she was wearing and all of the kids, they love Florida. We have given six years – six equals about 40 years of your life – to Florida and we couldn’t have dreamed to do it anywhere else because this is our place. We love it. To sing that fight song one last time and to go salute the band – we have the best band in the country – and shake hands with our band director, that was real special.”

On Black: “Ahmad Black is one of my closest friends, and I can call him a friend now because he’s not my player. He’s family. Ahmad Black was not the Ahmad Black when we got him four years ago. Ahmad Black has turned into a grown man, a grown man who is going to pay taxes some day, a grown man who is going to have a family some day. He’s going to be a great father and a great husband because Ahmad Black is a grown man now. He has a great family. His relationship with Chuck Heater, and I made a comment about that, if it’s done right, the player-coach relationship is second only to that of your family. He’s can attest to that. Ahmad Black wasn’t what he is when we got him. Now that he’s leaving here, he’s everything and more. I’m very proud of him.”

Many more thoughts from Meyer, Black and Paterno…after the break!
Continue Reading » 1/1: Meyer, Black speak after Outback Bowl win

Florida’s Muschamp looks to fill in coaching staff

With the hire of any new head coach there is usually extensive turnover on the previous coaching staff. According to various reports, things will not be much different for new Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, who is expected to hire numerous coaches outside the current staff while only retaining a few members.

The Gainesville Sun reported Saturday that Muschamp has chosen to bring back running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton and linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin, though their responsibilities may be adjusted in the new staff.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, whose sources confirmed Weis’s interest in Florida on Friday, reported Saturday that Miami Hurricanes wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill has said he will leave Miami to coach under Muschamp even though new Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said 12 days ago that he would be retaining Hill.

A Miami, FL native, Hill is a Gators alum who played for head coach Steve Spurrier from 1991-94 when Florida won their first three Southeastern Conference Championships. He served as a graduate assistant under Spurrier from 1996-98 and has coached wide receivers since 1999 including stints at Duke (1999-2003), Elon (2004), Pittsburgh (2005-07) and Miami (2008-10). He served as the Hurricanes recruiting coordinator only for the 2010 season.

Though it has yet to be confirmed, Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan Quinn has emerged as the most talked about candidate to serve as the Gators next defensive coordinator. Muschamp noted that he wished to run a pro-style defense and was expected to find a candidate with NFL experience.

Quinn, who has coached in the NFL since 2001, served as defensive line coach when Muschamp was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under then-head coach Nick Saban. That year Miami ranked 15th in total defense (19.8 points and 317.4 yards per game) but was second in quarterback sacks (49).

It is unknown what Muschamp plans to do with current Florida co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater or tight ends coach Brian White, both of whom were expected by many to be considered for roles on the new coaching staff.

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio, who has been hired as head coach of the Temple Owls, will be replaced by Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis with an announcement expected for Monday. Associate head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney left the team before its bowl game to take the top job with the North Texas Mean Green

OGGOA will continue updating you on the Gators coaching staff situation as more information is made available.

Charlie Weis to be named Gators OC Monday

Updated Jan. 2 at 6 p.m.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has accepted the same position with the Florida Gators, and the University of Florida will officially announce the agreement on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Weis, whose Chiefs currently boast the No. 9 offense in the NFL, was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach from 2005-09 and has four Super Bowl rings including three with the New England Patriots. He is a terrific play caller and showed recruiting chops during his time at Notre Dame.

Beginning his career as an offensive assistant with the New York Giants under head coach Bill Parcells, Weis was a position coach until 1997 when he was hired as the New York Jets offensive coordinator. He held that job with the Jets and later coached the Patriots offense until 2004 when he left for Notre Dame.

New Gators head coach Will Mushcamp, who said at his introductory press conference that he prefers to run a pro-style offense and wanted an offensive coordinator with professional experience, fulfills both of his requirements with Weis.

With Kansas City set to participate in the playoffs one year after a 4-12 season, Weis will stay on as long as necessary. Some reports have Weis earning near $1 million in his new position with UF, though that figure is unsubstantiated at this time.

Notorious for his somewhat rough personality, it was rumored that Weis had a falling out with Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. However statements from Haley on Sunday after Kansas City’s regular season finale tell another story.

“Charlie Weis is moving on. He’s going to go to the University of Florida as a coordinator. There was obviously a lot of speculation on that. Charlie and I, the Chiefs, we had a bunch of real productive conversations this weekend – really productive. This is a bitter sweet deal for me, as the head coach, because Charlie was someone I was obviously really excited to have in here.

“With that being said, Charlie is a family guy. He has a situation, a family situation, where he can go to Florida and be with his son, who is going to get into coaching. Without talking personally about Charlie, this is a great situation for Charlie. And I respect it 100 percent and we respect it 100 percent. Again, I was really excited to get Charlie here. Charlie’s been a big part of what we’ve done this year and he’s going to continue to be a big part of what we do this year.

“Charlie is a professional. He’s been through a similar situation back a few years ago where there was some potential distractions that could have been distractions that he, being a professional, did his job to the fullest and helped the team win a Super Bowl. I have the utmost confidence that that’s what will go on.”

Weis’s son will be attending Florida perhaps as soon as this spring and will likely work as a student assistant on the football team with hopes of eventually earning a coaching job.

Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley were both attendance at the 2011 Outback Bowl on Saturday to watch Florida prevail 37-24 over Penn State.

The Sporting News initially reported the agreement between Weis and the Gators.

Photo Credit: Bill Haber/Associated Press

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