SIX BITS: Muschamp, Young, Valentine, Tebow

1 » It appears as if Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and members of his coaching staff recently met with Luther Campbell, the former frontman of 2 Live Crew known as Uncle Luke. Campbell, who has a strong and long-time association with the Miami Hurricanes, is a known pornographer, hosts a Miami radio show, writes a column for the Miami New Times and recently ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County. He is also the defensive coordinator at Miami Northwestern High School.

2 » Could Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young be on his way to the Seattle Seahawks to join defensive coordinator Dan Quinn? It is all speculation at this point, but Seattle did just lose defensive line coach Todd Wash to Jacksonville and Quinn may very well wish to bring Young along for the ride and his first NFL coaching job. The Gators recently hired Brad Lawing as assistant head coach and defensive line coach (with a focus on the defensive ends) rather than promoting Young from assistant defensive line coach (with a focus on defensive tackles) to the full role. Young has received overwhelmingly positive reviews as a coach and recruiter over his two years at Florida. He is not yet signed for 2013 but is on a one-year renewable contract.

Read four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Muschamp, Young, Valentine, Tebow

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Florida announces hiring of Brad Lawing

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive line coach Brad Lawing has officially been added to the Florida Gators coaching staff.

Florida announced Tuesday that Lawing will serve as assistant head coach and defensive line coach, sharing the latter job title with current staff member Bryant Young. Lawing will coach defensive ends while Young stays on as an assistant and coaches defensive tackles.

“We are excited to have Brad Lawing join our coaching staff,” said head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “His track record speaks for itself – his nearly three decades of experience coaching defensive lineman, his familiarity with the SEC and our shared philosophical beliefs make him a perfect fit for our program.”

A long-time South Carolina assistant, Lawing spent 17 years at the school divided over two separate stints. He first worked for the Gamecocks from 1989-98 as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

Lawing then spent four seasons at Michigan State (1999-2002) and three more at North Carolina (2003-05) with the same job description. Upon returning to Columbia, SC, he continued his high level of coaching and led a South Carolina defensive front that has been one of the best in the Southeastern Conference recently.

He has never previously worked on the same staff with Muschamp but did serve under Nick Saban for one year at MSU in 1999.

Continue Reading » Florida announces hiring of Brad Lawing

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Reports: Brad Lawing hired as Gators assistant

UPDATE: Florida announces hiring of Brad Lawing to two positions

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive line coach Brad Lawing will be hired to a similar position with the Florida Gators, according to multiple reports on Saturday originating with one from FootballScoop.com.

As of Monday morning, neither school has confirmed the move, though it was reported over the weekend that Lawing was finalizing his agreement with the Gators.

A long-time Gamecocks assistant, Lawing had spent 17 years at the school divided over two separate stints. He first worked at South Carolina from 1989-98 as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

Lawing departed USC and spent four seasons at Michigan State (1999-2002) and three more at North Carolina (2003-05) with the same job description. Upon returning to Columbia, SC, he continued his high level of coaching and led a Gamecocks defensive front that has been one of the best in the Southeastern Conference recently.

A spot on Florida’s staff opened up last week when defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was hired away by the Seattle Seahawks and linebackers coach and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin was named as a replacement.

Durkin will continue coaching linebackers, which left open coaching positions for defensive ends and special teams.

Lawing will likely coach the entire defenisive line with a focus on the ends, leaving the defensive tackles for current assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young.

Head coach Will Muschamp noted Friday during a press conference that he had “a lot of different avenues to travel down” as it pertained to making his next hire.

“I’ve been in situations where you have a special teams coordinator that coaches everything like D.J. did. I’ve been a part of staffs where we’ve been very successful in special teams where each coach had a part [of the special teams unit to coach]. I’ve been down a lot of those roads. The bottom line is we’re going to find the best fit for the University of Florida, and we’re going to make it work,” he said.

If Lawing’s hiring becomes official, it would appear as if the Gators have decided to coach special teams by committee, a stark departure and certainly a risk for a unit that has been arguably the best in the nation over the last few years.

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Dan Quinn leaves Florida for Seattle Seahawks

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has left the team to take the same position with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Just hours after former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was named the new head coach in Jacksonville on Thursday, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll tabbed Quinn as his replacement.

Quinn undoubtedly saw a fantastic opportunity to coach arguably the NFL’s best defense, one which surrendered the fewest points in the league this past season. Before joining the Gators, he coached the Seahawks’ defensive line from 2009-10.

His name also popped up as a candidate for the Jacksonville, Cleveland and Philadelphia defensive coordinator openings. Quinn turned down an opportunity to leave Florida and join Tampa Bay following the 2011 season.

“My wife Stacey and I loved our time in Gainesville,” Quinn said in a school release. “The last two years have been an awesome experience, working for Will [Muschamp] and Mr. [Jeremy] Foley and with a bunch of talented, great players and coaches. Even though we’ll be in Seattle, we look forward to keeping track of the Gators in the future.”

After serving as a collegiate defensive line coach from 1994-2000, Quinn spent 10-straight years in the NFL coaching the same position for San Francisco, Miami, the New York Jets and Seattle. Deciding to return to college was not a decision he took lightly.

“There was [trepidation] on my end because when you’ve done one thing for 10 years and you’re kind of settled, I certainly enjoyed [Seattle] and had a great time working with Pete Carroll and John Schneider, the GM there,” he said on Nov. 7, 2012.

“There was hesitancy, not from coming back to college or coming here or working with Will, but I enjoyed what I was doing there and was happy. I thought the opportunity was too unique to pass up and that’s why I wanted to come do it, and I’m certainly glad that I did.”

He continued, “I had been a defensive line coach for 10 years. For me the chance to, as a play caller and coordinator, lead a bigger group of people, that was one [reason] for me. And then at a place like this, I thought, ‘Where else would you rather do it?’”

Continue Reading » Dan Quinn leaves Florida for Seattle Seahawks

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Floyd on Bullard, Fowler, 2012 rebound, Young

Florida Gators junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has been a revelation this season now that he is playing in his natural position inside and no longer spending most of his time on the field at defensive end.

A potential first-round pick in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft (should he decide to end his college career one year early), Floyd is known for being as thoughtful and insightful off the field as he is powerful and dominant on it.

As part of a team appearance at the 2013 Sugar Bowl on Saturday, Floyd answered plenty of questions from the media. Here are seven of them:

Continue Reading » Floyd on Bullard, Fowler, 2012 rebound, Young

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12/19: Quinn and Hunter talk practice, juniors

With the team beginning preparations for the 2013 Sugar Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals in New Orleans, LA on Jan. 2, No. 3 Florida Gators defensive coordinator Brent Pease and redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter sat down with the media to discuss the team’s defense and how it is shaping up for the bowl game.

FOWLER IS “SPECIAL,” POOLE IS IMPRESSING

Head coach Will Muschamp has propped up sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy all season for making great strides in his game during practices leading up to the 2012 Gator Bowl. Asked Wednesday who has made similar strides so far in these bowl practices, Quinn pointed to two players in particular.

“In the front seven, one that is really coming on that you can see is [Buck linebacker] Dante Fowler. He’s played all year. He’s playing really at a high level right now and to me you can see the momentum, the confidence and the understanding at a faster rate. That part has been exciting,” Quinn said. “On the back end, one guy that has caught my attention that is doing a good job right now is [CB] Brian Poole. I’d say those two players are really ones to me that have caught my eye, and I thought they’ve had a good camp in terms of the work and stuff they’ve put in.”

For players like Purifoy last year and Poole this year, Quinn said it is all about growth and development. Freshmen may not pick up terminology or technique in the few practices before the season begins, so the coaching staff may not have the necessary confidence in them to play them early. As the season goes on, the players are able to pick up a lot more and are then able to display the improvements they have made in bowl practices when younger players get more time on the field.

Asked to point out players that have impressed him in bowl practice, Hunter named Purifoy, Fowler, junior DT Damien Jacobs, freshman defensive end Jonathan Bullard and sophomore CB Marcus Roberson. He had plenty of praise for Fowler in particular.

“That kid’s special. He’s special. He’s what I wanted to be my freshman year. He is very special. He’s going to be a great player here. Quick, powerful guy,” Hunter said. “I think he can play inside at three-technique; I think he can play outside at the end. He can cover tight ends. He’s just a special athlete, special football player. He’s learning the system more than anything. He’s getting smarter. He’s a smarter football player than he was when he first came in. These practices [are] where the coaches can help the younger guys more because the seniors know everything.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » 12/19: Quinn and Hunter talk practice, juniors

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TWO BITS: Young and Noah, Bryant nominated

1 » Florida Gators junior center Patric Young recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with two-time national champion Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls. The two discuss playing at Florida, what it takes to succeed and much more.

2 » The NFL on Thursday announced 13 first-year eligible modern-era players nominated for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Among those listed is current Gators defensive line coach and former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Bryant Young, who played in the league from 1994-2007. Young, the No. 7 overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time All-Pro, Super Bowl XXIX champion, NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 and member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s. Also up for induction is former Florida tackle Lomas Brown, who played in the NFL with five different teams from 1985-2002 and has been on the list of nominees for five years.

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8/6: Muschamp praises retention, chemistry

Head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday following the first weekend of fall practice for the Florida Gators. Muschamp spoke about a number of hot topics concerning the team including how much material the players retained from the spring after spending the summer working on strength and conditioning.

HIGH MARKS ON RETENTION AND CHEMISTRY

Though the team has only had three practices together, Muschamp said Monday that he has been pleasantly surprised with how well the team has retained the information given to them in spring by the coaching staff.

“I do want to compliment our players on the retention from spring. It was very evident on the first three days on both sides of the ball the retention we have for spring, which credits our players and the job they did this summer,” he said.

“We are far ahead of – after three practices, mind you – where we thought we would beat this point on both sides of the ball. Not just on defense but on offense, too. That’s a great credit to our players and the buy-in that they had throughout the summer. Again, there’s just three practices so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but we are far ahead mentally then I thought we’d be at this point and certainly what Brent [Pease] thought as well.”

He also noted that the team is getting along much better than it was a year ago.

“A lot of that has to do with the staff’s been here a year. There’s a little bit more understanding of what to expect,” Muschamp said. “I think there’s a lot of things that are a little better. Let’s find out and talk to me after practice 18.”

LITTLE RUST FROM INJURED PLAYERS

Muschamp said he was impressed with how redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball (head) and sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson (neck) have been practicing early on this fall mostly because neither appears to have a mental block after serious health scares nearly cost them their careers last season.

“Any time you deal with the neck or the head, in my coaching career, you always worry about how a player will come back. But both of those guys, it doesn’t seem like it’s slowed them down. They’re both playing very fast and very physical, and I’m very pleased with both of those guys how they’ve come back,” he said.

He also spoke about the positive mentality and increased level of focus that Ball, Roberson and junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (who is not yet back in practice but working hard in rehabilitation) are showcasing.

“I think every injured player has a different appreciation of what they have and what God’s blessed them with. There’s no question that those two young men went through a very difficult time. With Marcus whether or not he was going to play football again, and Ronald of when he’s going to play football again,” Muschamp said.

“Neiron Ball – talk to Neiron. Here’s a young man that, at one point, was a pretty bleak outlook on things as far as ever playing football again. Any young man that has that taken away from him for a period of time or maybe forever, they certainly have a greater appreciation of maybe having the opportunity of what God’s blessed them with and playing a great game.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say on Monday…after the break!
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