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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SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

1 » With most of the players and head coach Urban Meyer making time for the media Thursday, it was offensive coordinator Steve Addazio’s turn to represent the Florida Gators early Friday. He provided a little insight into what is in store this season. “Will you see QB runs? Unequivocally yes from a Wildcat offense,” Addazio said. “Will you see five wides on the field? You know you will. Will you see tight ends and fullback sets? Yes. You’re going to see a lot. We’re not going away from that. It’s just judiciously choosing what styles and plays you’re going to use within those sets.” Addazio also noted that wide receivers redshirt junior Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman Andre Debose can add a lot to the offense. “Rainey brings that whole other dimension in here, as does Debose,” Addazio said. “We have those hybrid guys and we have an interesting dynamic in there to cause some stress.”

2 » Tight ends coach Brian White also leaked some brain droppings about his position players. “What’s evident in the first two days is Jordan Reed and Gerald Christian really improved themselves this summer,” White said. “They did a great job of becoming a better football player. All the work they did with [strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti] and his staff has paid tremendous dividends. They’re very confident. They’re much improved. [...] Jordan has had tremendous recall from spring ball. It’s very evident he worked his ass off this summer. He’s a tremendously improved football player and he’s going to be really fun to watch this year. He’s going to do some special things.”

Four more BITS on Nelson, Moss, Wilbur and swimmer Beisel…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

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Is LB Cassell the Gators’ ninth 2011 commit?

Three-star linebacker Rahim Cassell (Lakewood, CA) committed to the Florida Gators on Thursday, but a conflicting report states that Florida is hesitant to officially accept his commitment.

“I’m stoked,” Cassell told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel about his decision. “They were my first choice all along, them and Oregon, but I was more leaning toward Florida all along.”

Cassell said that he committed to tight ends coach Brian White over the phone and expected to speak with the remainder of the coaching staff – including head coach Urban Meyer – Thursday evening. He has yet to visit Gainesville, FL, and will not until Friday Night Lights camp at the end of July.

Though he has not seen the University of Florida for himself, Cassell admitted that he was influenced to jump on board by USC’s 2010 five-star quarterback commitment Jesse Scroggins, who raved about the time he had at UF.

“[Scroggins] just told me so many good things about when they went down there to visit that it just sounded perfect for me,” Cassell said. “I’m glad I got this done and committed to Florida. Coaches are starting to hit me up and trying to have me take all these unofficial visits and I can’t visit everywhere. I’m really happy that I committed.”

While Cassell may have made his mind up, Mark Wheeler of Rivals is reporting that the Gators will not be accepting his “commitment” right now. The program may be making this decision simply because the coaches have yet to see him workout at one of their camps, or Florida may believe that there are better players they are in the running for to take a scholarship at the same position.

Cassell told the Sentinel that he is ready to move on from recruiting and is so sure of his decision that he is starting to decline offers.

“I’m just beginning to tell [the other schools] now through e-mail. I haven’t spoken with any of them yet,” Cassell added.

UPDATE: The Sentinel caught up with Cassell late on Friday after reports of his commitment not being accepted surfaced across various websites including OGGOA. He somewhat confirmed these findings, noting that while the Gators did not come out and say his commitment was not accepted, Florida is taking a wait-and-see approach until he visits campus and meets with Meyer.

“[White] didn’t say I wasn’t committed, but they do want to form more of a relationship with me,” Cassell told the paper. “When I spoke with him [on Thursday], he did not let me know of this. But I’m guessing they are not accepting my commitment just yet because I did not get to visit the school. I just tried to get in contact with [linebackers] coach [D.J.] Durkin, unfortunately he did not answer so I left a message.”

Though Cassell “did not get the chance to talk to Urban Meyer because of the time difference between here and Florida,” he calls his decision “a for-sure commitment.”

Photo Credit: Rivals

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Gators give raises, spend $2.74M on assistants

After months of waiting, numerous media outlets received documents on Tuesday from the University of Florida’s University Athletic Association detailing the salaries that the Florida Gators assistant football coaches will receive for the next two seasons.

» Defensive coordinator / cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin – $440,000
» Offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Steve Addazio – $375,000
» Assistant head coach / defensive line coach Dan McCarney – $330,000
» Co-defensive coordinator / safeties coach Chuck Heater – $305,000
» Running backs coach / recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton – $240,000
» Tight ends / fullbacks coach Brian White – $240,000
» Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler – $240,000
» Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni – $240,000
» Linebackers / special teams coach D.J. Durkin – $240,000

Contract notes:
- Head coach Urban Meyer is finalizing a six-year, $24 million contract
- Every returning coach received a raise of approximately $50,000 from their 2009 base
- All coaches receive a $10,000 bonus from Florida’s contract with Nike
- All coaches receive a car and other tangible incentives
- Addazio will be compensated with bonuses for time he spent as interim head coach

Universal bonuses:
- BCS National Championship Game appearance – up to 30 percent increase
- Other BCS bowl game appearance – 20 percent increase
- SEC Championship Game appearance – 10 percent increase
- Non-BCS bowl game – 10 percent increase
- Bowl game with less than $2 million payout – one month’s salary increase

Special thanks to the Orlando Sentinel for some of the information in this report.

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