Muschamp shakes up staff with TE coach hire

With running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton departing for the Ohio State Buckeyes last week, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday during his National Signing Day press conference that some changes have been made to his first coaching staff.

Muschamp hired Derek Lewis to coach tight ends and shifted former TE coach Brian White‘s responsibilities to coaching running backs. Additionally, wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill will take over Drayton’s recruiting coordinator duties.

Lewis, Minnesota’s tight ends and assistant special teams coach since 2007, was a graduate assistant with the Texas Longhorns from 2005-06. He had a solid career as a four-year letterman at Texas from 1995-98 and spent two seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams (1999-2000), with whom he earned a Super Bowl ring.

“A lot of Gator fans will remember him,’’ Muschamp said of Lewis. “He caught the pass against Nebraska [in 1996] that won Texas the Big 12 Championship and vaulted Florida into the national championship game. He has helped the Gators in the past.”

A running backs coach from 1991-92 with UNLV and 1995-2006 with Wisconsin (where he was also offensive coordinator from 1999-2006), White takes over a job he has plenty of experience doing. Some of the players White has seen succeed under his tutelage as RB coach include Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis and Brian Calhoun – all four of whom were selected in the NFL Draft. He also produced eight 1,000-yard rushers in his first eight seasons with Wisconsin.

As projected by OGGOA on Jan. 27, Hill steps into the recruiting coordinator role after holding the position for the Miami Hurricanes in 2010.

“I’m really pleased with the job he did recruiting and what he brings to the staff, especially as a former Gator,” Muschamp said of his decision to give Hill the added responsibilities.

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: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

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Recruits to watch through National Signing Day

Updated: Feb. 1 at 9:45 p.m.

Sixteen members strong, the Florida Gators 2011 recruiting class could look totally different – or exactly the same – at the end of the week. With the vast majority of uncommitted high school football players announcing their decisions on National Signing Day this Wednesday, a handful of others may wait a few days to make their intentions known. Below OGGOA breaks down who Florida is still waiting to hear from, when they might learn of their decision and some of the latest insights on each player.

Linebacker Curtis Grant (Richmond, VA)
Accolades: No. 2 player in the country (No. 1 linebacker) according to Rivals; No. 46 player in the country (No. 3 linebacker) according to ESPNU
Leaders: Florida, Ohio State
Contenders: Virginia, North Carolina
Skinny: Though his hometown school and a regional choice are both in the picture, it is believed by most that this is a two-horse race between UF and OSU. The Gators have sent head coach Will Muschamp (two weeks ago) as well as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, linebackers coach D.J. Durkin and tight ends coach Brian White (last week) in-home to see him. With Florida’s staff only coming together recently, Grant may feel more comfortable elsewhere. Then again, the press put on by UF may have impressed him and he would likely have the opportunity to play relatively early.
Announcement: NSD at 1:50 p.m.

Linebacker Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, NC)
Accolades: No. 1 linebacker (No. 32 player in the country) according to ESPNU; No. 3 linebacker (No. 24 palyer in the country) according to Rivals
Leader: Clemson
Contenders: Florida, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Skinny: It appears that Anthony is favoring Clemson and Virginia Tech with the Tigers edging. In fact, almost every recruiting analyst predicting where Anthony will eventually declare tabs Clemson.
Update: Anthony eliminated UF on Monday.
Announcement: NSD at 11:30 a.m.

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, FL)
Accolades: Consensus No. 2 defensive tackle in the country, listed at No. 17 on the ESPNU 150 and No. 29 on the Rivals 100
Leaders: Florida State, LSU
Contenders: Florida, Tennessee
Skinny: As OGGOA has previously reported, the Gators have put a full-court press on Jernigan. Assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young visited him in-home during his first day on the job, and he has also met personally with Muschamp and Quinn. Florida was thought to have a legitimate chance, but Rivals affiliate VolQuest reported that Jernigan loved his visit to UT over the weekend and it may have supplanted UF in his top three. Always in the back of Jernigan’s mind, however, may be that he and his family have been long-time Gators fans and his home is just 45 miles from The Swamp.
Update: The Orlando Sentinel reports that Jernigan is no longer considering UF.
Announcement: NSD at 10 a.m. on ESPN

Learn about eight more 2011 recruits…after the break.
Continue Reading » Recruits to watch through National Signing Day

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Hounshell switches commitment to Notre Dame

Though he never officially decommitted from the Florida Gators in early January, three-star offensive lineman recruit Chase Hounshell (Kirkland, OH) chose not to enroll early at the University of Florida as he had originally planned in order to delay his final decision so he could gather more information. Monday evening Hounshell switched his commitment from the Gators to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the same day coaches from that school paid him an in-home visit.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp, offensive line coach Frank Verducci and tight ends coach Brian White visited Hounshell on Sunday and came away with an agreement from the young man that he would visit UF this upcoming weekend in order to reaffirm his commitment. Meeting with Notre Dame less than 24 hours later appears to have canceled those plans as well.

“I committed to the University of Notre Dame,” Hounshell announced on his personal Twitter account. “[I] want to thank Gator Country for all your support. You guys are the best, but I had to do what’s best for me.”

According to 247 Sports, he will switch to defensive end for the Fighting Irish.

When he agreed to join the team on Aug. 11, Hounshell was the Gators 13th commitment. Since head coach Urban Meyer (and in this case offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio) left the program, he is Florida’s third decommitment. The others include four-stars cornerback Nick Waisome (Florida State) and linebacker Ryan Shazier (Ohio State). Four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Clemson) decommitted from UF on Nov. 29

The Gators now have 15 commitments for the 2011 recruiting cycle, seven of whom enrolled in January for the spring semester.
 

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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.

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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.

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Muschamp could have coaches hired by Tuesday

Speaking with the media on Wednesday as the Florida Gators prepare for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions set for Sat., Jan. 1 at 1 p.m., athletic director Jeremy Foley said that he expects new head coach Will Muschamp to have most of his staff in place by Tues., Jan. 4.

“Some pieces are falling into place; still, there’s other pieces that have to fall into place,” Foley said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “He’s making a lot of good progress there and will be in position next week to hit the ground running and go recruit.

“January 4th you have to hit the ground recruiting, so I’m not going to say the whole staff will be in place by then, but we’ve got to have some coaches on the road. We will have some coaches on the road. I think things get really, really hectic the first part of next week.”

As of press time, director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti is the only confirmed member of Muschamp’s staff. It is a widely held belief that he will retain a few of the Gators’ current coaches though most hires will be from outside the program.

Because Muschamp has decided to consult head coach Urban Meyer on a number of matters, he will likely receive strong endorsements for some current assistants.

“He’s certainly respectful of the fact that this is Urban’s last deal,” Foley said, according to the University of Florida. “He’s not going to be in the forefront. We probably talk every day. He’s, trust me, rocking and rolling hard putting a staff together. Every time I talk to him, I know he’s chomping at the bit to get to Gainesville and get going recruiting and get this thing rolling.

“I know people are wondering why we haven’t announced this or announced that. It’s because that’s part of the plan. You wait until football seasons are over, individual teams are done playing and then you can start figuring out what are the final pieces of this puzzle.”

DEPARTING COACHES
Offensive coordinator/offensive line Steve Addazio » Named Temple head coach
Assistant head coach/defensive line Dan McCarney » Named North Texas head coach
Defensive coordinator/cornerbacks Teryl Austin » Does not anticipate being retained

REMAINING COACHES
Co-defensive coordinator/safeties Chuck Heater
Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton
Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler
Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni
Tight ends/fullbacks coach Brian White
Linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin

Photo Credit: Erica Brough/Gainesville Sun

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Five days later, A.C. Leonard recommits to Gators

Less than a week after decommitting from the Florida Gators, four-star tight end recruit A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville, FL) has renewed his pledge to the University of Florida and claims that it is his final decision, according to a report from Scout.com.

Leonard told Scout that outside influences were pulling him in different directions and giving him bad advice about his future; after thinking about it, he decided to recommit and is “shutting the whole process down” out of respect for the Gators.

“I will enroll early at the University of Florida in January to try and help bring a championship back to Gainesville,” he told Scout‘s Jason Higdon. “I want to apologize to the Gator Nation and coach [Urban] Meyer, coach [Scot] Loeffler and coach [Brian] White. […] I am 100 percent Gator and the recruiting process is over.”

Florida’s second commitment for 2011 (he verbally agreed to join the team on Nov. 29, 2009), Leonard is also the third-highest rated behind five-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) and four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC). After decommiting on Oct. 13, he said he was considering Alabama, Miami and Nebraska.

Photo Credit: Harrison Diamond/The Alligator

OGGOA RELATED: A.C. Leonard decommits, opens up recruitment

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Grading the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Kentucky Wildcats in the fourth game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
Standing on his own, redshirt junior John Brantley had an “A-” performance on Saturday, completing over 68 percent of his passes (24-of-35) for a career-high 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Though his 131.81 passer rating was his third-best of the season (due to the turnover), Brantley posted the best performance of his career and was instrumental in the Gators converting 7-of-11 third downs. Of course Brantley’s positive output was overshadowed by freshman Trey Burton, who accounted for six touchdowns on the day. Playing as single wing QB, running back, wide receiver and tight end, Burton rushed for 40 yards and five touchdowns, caught five balls for 37 yards and a touchdown and completed a pass on his only attempt for 42 yards. When you combine Brantley’s significant improvement with Burton’s stellar evening, there is truly no other grade to give his unit.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
After a monster 267-yard performance against South Florida, Florida’s running game came back down to earth against Tennessee. It returned to prominence once again against Kentucky, with all three of the team’s rushers posting good statistics. Junior Jeff Demps (who left the game in the second half with an injured foot) rushed eight times for 57 yards (7.1 average), redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody gained 46 yards on 10 carries (4.6 average) and sophomore Mike Gillislee ran the ball six times for 32 yards (5.3 average). Burton, a QB, scored all of the Gators’ rushing touchdowns, but these backs were instrumental in all six of UF’s scoring drives.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Kentucky game after the jump…
Continue Reading » Grading the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky game

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