Muschamp praises Gators drafted by Dolphins

In a phone call with the South Florida media on Monday, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp had nothing but extremely positive things to say about the three Gators selected by the Miami Dolphins on Saturday on the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft.

“They got three great people, three great guys in the locker room,” he said. “Three really good, solid people and really good football players.”

The Dolphins started off the day by drafting linebacker Jelani Jenkins in the fourth round with the No. 104 overall pick. Miami sees Jenkins as a player who can contribute immediately on passing downs, and Muschamp agreed with that concept.

“Jelani Jenkins has got a huge upside as a player. He’s an every-down linebacker,” Muschamp said. “He’s an immediate contributor on special teams. But the guy can really run and play in space. He’s improved his physicality, playing blocks in the core. But he can play in every down, and that to me, especially the way the NFL is moving right now, as far as becoming a little bit more of a spread league, you got to have guys that are able to play in the box in two-back situations and have people spread you out, be able to play every down. And he can do that. He’s extremely intelligent, [a] hard worker and [has] absolutely no issues.”

Muschamp also explained that Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards, who is back with the franchise after leaving in 2010 to take over as Florida’s defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer before leaving less than two months later to become defensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills, is excited about Jenkins. Edwards coached under Muschamp when he was defensive coordinator in Miami under Nick Saban.

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Meyer returns feeling good, ready to coach again

Lost among the hysteria of the Florida Gators‘ Pro Day and an appearance by the basketball team as a No. 10-seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament against the Brigham Young Cougars was the beginning of spring practice for the football team – something that (perhaps most importantly) also saw the official return of head coach Urban Meyer from his leave of absence.

Meyer, who told reporters that he actually returned in an official capacity a few weeks ago after taking some personal time to get healthy and rested, spoke confidently about his health. “I’m not going to get into all that, but I feel fine. I feel good,” he said after the three-hour practice. He also declined denied to speak about a number of tests he underwent in February.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s story on Meyer’s return to the Gators after the break!
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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Knight, lacrosse, Moreno

1 » Buffalo Bills head coach and former Florida Gators quarterback Chan Gailey, who incidentally hired defensive coordinator George Edwards away from his alma mater, spoke about QB Tim Tebow while at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN. “Habits are not changed over a short amount of time; habits are changed over long periods of time and many reps,” Gailedy told the Palm Beach Post. “If you’re going to change somebody, it will take time to do that. If he thinks it’s a weakness, and he thinks he needs to work on it, and he thinks he needs to change, that should help him be a stronger player down the line. If he didn’t think it was a wekness and he’s doing it for somebody else, then it’ll make him a weaker player.” Interesting perspective.

VIDEO » Tebow interviewed by Steve Mariucci and Mike Mayock of NFL Network Thurs.

Find out about Knight, UF lacrosse and trouble for Moreno after the jump!
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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Florida Gators associate athletics director Steve McClain spoke with The Florida Times-Union about head coach Urban Meyer’s leave of absence. He had this to say: “If you compare [what Meyer is doing now] to what he was usually doing, it was very different. He [has] made a lot of changes.”

» In a meeting with the media today, running backs coach Stan Drayton told reporters that redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey will be both a rusher and slot receiver next season. While this may seem like big news to some, it is important to realize that former kick returner Brandon James technically held this job last season and amassed a grand total of 24 catches for 215 yards. Obviously Rainey is more talented offensively, but the “change” in position is less important than an increase in production would be.

  • Expect redshirt junior RB Emmanuel Moody to see a big increase in carries.
  • Freshman RB Mike Gillislee could see more game action, too.

Plenty of additional news and notes are available after the break! Keep reading…
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Teryl Austin hired as Gators’ defensive boss

The University of Florida has raided the NFL for a defensive coordinator for the second time since Charlie Strong left to become head coach of the Louisville Cardinals in January. After hiring George Edwards from the Miami Dolphins only to lose him to the Buffalo Bills 27 days later, the Florida Gators have agreed to name Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Teryl Austin as their new defensive coordinator.

Coaching since 1991, Austin has experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. Tutored by names like Joe Paterno, Dick MacPherson, Lloyd Carr and Mike Holmgren after playing four years of college football at Pittsburgh from 1984-87, the 44-year-old has yet to hold a defensive coordinator position at either level. Both of his stops in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and the Cardinals, reached the Super Bowl while he was leading their respective secondaries.

Though he has not previously worked with head coach Urban Meyer, Austin has connections to interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler. During Addazio’s tenure as offensive line and tight ends coach with the Syracuse Orange from 1995-98, Austin was on the staff as a defensive assistant (1996-98). Loeffler knows him through his time with the Michigan Wolverines, where the former worked as a graduate assistant (1998-99) and QB coach (2002-07) while the latter served as a defensive assistant (1999-2002).

“I am pleased to have Teryl join our staff,” Meyer said in a UF release. “Coach Addazio did a great job coordinating our efforts with Chuck Heater and Dan McCarney to hire Teryl. It was important that we had some familiarity with Teryl as both Coach Addazio and Coach Loeffler had worked with him before. He also comes highly recommended from my close friend Bill Davis, the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals. It was also important that we hire a coach who is a great teacher, a great mentor and has the ability to be a great recruiter. Coach Austin has all of those qualities and beyond that is a good family man.”

“I’m excited to join the Gator coaching staff,” said Austin in the release. “I’ve watched from afar what this program is about – winning championships with dynamic players and doing things the right way. Now, I’m honored to be a part of the program and a part of The Gator Nation. I look forward to getting to work with an outstanding group of players and a great coaching staff.”

Co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Chuck Heater, a 33-year coaching veteran and one of Florida’s strongest recruiters, is expected to retain his new title and position. Heater has worked with Meyer on-and-off since 1986 when he coached the secondary for the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer was a graduate assistant. Since joining the Gators, Heater has coached cornerbacks and safeties, served as recruiting coordinator from 2005-07 and assistant defensive coordinator from 2008-09.

Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff …after the jump!
Continue Reading » Teryl Austin hired as Gators’ defensive boss

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FOUR BITS: Harbison, Dr. Indelicato, McCray

1 » Clemson Tigers co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison has removed his name from consideration for the Florida Gators defensive coordinator position according to a report by FootballRumorMill.com. The Post and Courier reports that Harbison told his head coach Dabo Sweeney on Thursday that he is staying put. Habison may very well have declared he is no longer a candidate or (more likely) the Florida coaching staff decided he was not a good fit and he is simply trying to save face. It is believed that Arizona Cardinals DB coach Teryl Austin is the Gators’ top candidate to replace George Edwards.

2 » University of Florida orthopedic surgeon Dr. Peter Indelicato, the team physician for the football and men’s basketball teams, will be honored on Feb. 20 as a “Champion With Heart” at the Gainesville Heart Ball. Though he has four championship rings with the Gators, Indelicato calls the award “the greatest honor of my life.” Read the rest of his story at The Gainesville Sun.

3 » One of the best long distance runners in Florida state history, Matt Mizereck (Tallahassee, FL) has committed to run at UF in the fall. The 2009 Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year, 2009 Footlocker Cross Country All-American and three-time individual state champion signed his letter of intent on Tuesday. “I really felt comfortable being with the team,” Mizereck told the Tallahassee Democrat. “They were like automatic best friends. I felt the atmosphere with the University of Florida was phenomenal.”

4 » Former Gators defensive end Bobby McCray, now a Super Bowl XLIV champion with the New Orleans Saints, was interviewed by Jim Rome on his national radio show Wednesday. The audio is available below.

Bobby McCray on Jim Rome – 02/10/10

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Will Florida go back to the NFL for Teryl Austin?

The Florida Gators originally took a month to replace former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong with former Miami Dolphins inside linebackers coach George Edwards. Now forced to replace Edwards after he defected for the same position with the Buffalo Bills, head coach Urban Meyer (on a leave of absence) and interim head coach Steve Addazio are faced with another staff position to fill.

OGGOA broke down some of the leading candidates to fill the defensive coordinator role on Friday and even updated the story Tuesday after learning that Clemson Tigers co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Charlie Harbison was being interviewed for the job. Just a day later, the National Football Post has forced us to add another name to the Gators’ list: Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Teryl Austin, who is expected to interview for the position on Wednesday.

UPDATE: The Orlando Sentinel‘s Jeremy Fowler reported Wednesday evening that Austin and members of the Gators staff did indeed meet on Wednesday with the team coming away impressed. Fowler says “there seems to be a strong possibility” that Austin will join Florida as its next defensive coordinator.

The Gators will likely name a new defensive boss before the end of the week. For more about Austin, be sure to visit and read through the link below.

UPDATED: Replacing Edwards as defensive coordinator

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Harbison the Gators’ next defensive coordinator?

After Charlie Strong was hired as head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, the Florida Gators took a month to replace him with former Miami Dolphins inside linebackers coach George Edwards. Now forced to replace Edwards after he defected for the same position with the Buffalo Bills, head coach Urban Meyer (on a leave of absence) and interim head coach Steve Addazio are faced with another staff position to fill.

OGGOA broke down some of the leading candidates to fill the defensive coordinator role on Friday, but we have recently been forced to update the story after Clemson Tigers co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Charlie Harbison has been named as a strong possibility by numerous sources.

Expect the Gators to name a new defensive boss before the end of the week.

READ: Replacing Edwards as defensive coordinator

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