After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, Florida has gone on a feverish tear naming eight coaches in all. That is if you count those that remained on the staff, and we here at The Bull Gator do.
needed a good support staff behind him. You can’t BOOM! all alone. Not only is it a sad existence to not have others to BOOM! with, but eventually your BOOM! loses power and meaning. It’s like having no one to break the wishbone with. No other man to hug during those important moments in life that can only end in a man-hug. No one to high five (for more on the high five, I direct you to our good friends at Wikipedia
Boomchamp needed to surround himself with those he felt would ride with him into the future. He wanted experience at both the professional and collegiate level. Those familiar with the Florida program and those that might not be. Old friends and new friends. Frontbutts and those in top physical condition. It almost all came together in what seemed like a matter of moments. One day there was Muschamp, standing alone atop the mountain. The next it was a packed house. Here are the few, the proud, the lucky ones…
Charlie Weis – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks – Make fun, we all do, but be prepared to witness a – dare I say it – better offense. Lost in the weight jokes, arrogance references, and resume as a head coach is the fact that Weis is a pretty darn good offensive mind. See: New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, and a good portion of his time at Notre Dame. He isn’t fun to look at and borders on annoyingly annoying at times during press conferences and interviews, but his offensive mind can’t be dismissed. The stat you want to hear is three top 15 passing offenses in five years at Notre Dame and the NFL top rushing offense this season with the Chiefs. Weis is typically credited for making Tom Brady the sexy Bieber beast of a quarterback he is. That could be a good or bad thing depending on how you want to look at it. The Gators have had some experience with someone credited for Brady. Weis’s most important contribution to the program is four Super Bowl rings. While parents are asking questions about academics and study time, recruits are in awe of all the pretty diamonds.
Stan Drayton – Running Backs – The first of the holdovers and one many wanted to stay. Drayton and departing head coach Urban Meyer had their moments and they weren’t always good, but Drayton may be suited better for a new offense. And yes, he has the prerequisite NFL experience. Drayton was with the Green Bay Packers from 2001 to 2003. Something about offensive quality control. Yes, Brett Favre was the quarterback for the Packers at that time. I don’t think the means anything. It’s probably better if it doesn’t, but if it does Favre had good seasons all three years.
Aubrey Hill – Wide Receivers – Raise your hand if you feel old because a Gator you actually remember watching play is now a coach. My hand is raised. Hill doesn’t have NFL experience, which makes him an interesting choice considering Muschamp is clearly gearing up Florida to be the next NFL expansion franchise, but he is a great hire. One of the nation’s up and comers, Hill has moved up the job ladder and has landed in the perfect position. Weis gives offenses the tools that help receivers excel. Hill can’t wait to be a part of what is happening at Florida. He might even want to suit up. He won’t, that would be a NCAA infraction of some sort, but he might think about it.
Brian White – Tight Ends – Another holdover, but another assistant without NFL experience. Although White is another you want around. As Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator he put up points and yards, both good things Florida struggled to do in 2010. In 2009 during his first season with the Gators, White coached Mackey Award winner Aaron Hernandez. In 2010 during his second season with the Gators, his first choice at the position was moved the quarterback forcing him to, well, we don’t really know. Expect 2011 to be a better tight end year for the Gators and White. EXPECT IT!
Frank Verducci – Offensive Line – I’m not scared of a lot of people. Okay, that’s not true; I’m scared of a ton of people. Verducci is one of them. To be fair though, all offensive line coaches scare me. Well, all expect one. I’m betting you can guess which one. Verducci brings experience from all over the place. College, the NFL, you name it. He has coached All-Americans and Pro Bowlers. His lines have paved the way for some great rushing attacks and, let’s face it, he’s just a man. A man that will chew you up, spit you out, knock you to the ground, run you over, and then help you up to do it all over again. We’re in pro-Gator mode at the moment so we’re thinking all of these are good hires. Verducci is a great one.
Dan Quinn – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line – Not to worry, Quinn isn’t an amalgamation of former MTV personalities Dan Cortese and Colin Quinn. At least let’s hope not. You already get your fill of “not funny” right here. This Quinn is a bag of mixed results. He has been in the NFL for the last 10 seasons and has had some success, but has had other seasons that didn’t shape up too well. In terms of the defensive line, he did rank in the top 10 in terms of sacks in four of his eight seasons as a DL coach. What is interesting and somewhat frightening is that Quinn hasn’t been a defensive coordinator in 10 years…and that was with Hofstra. No offense to the Pride (yes, that’s Hofstra’s nickname), but this is the SEC. Quinn will be heavily supervised by Boom himself and sounds like a DC in name only. Familiarity is there though as both worked together with the Miami Dolphins.
D.J. Durkin – Linebackers/Special Teams – The final holdover was a bit of a surprise. For most of the 2010 season, the Florida linebackers were invisible. Talent wasn’t an issue. Coaching and defensive schemes were. Due to the lack of overall production from the unit, many expected Durkin to be looking for work, but that wasn’t the case. Muschamp likes something he sees in Durkin and our best guess is that Durkin wasn’t allowed to do a lot of what he wanted to do with the linebackers throughout 2010. He has a solid resume as a defensive line coach and has coached special teams in the past, but this is LBs and Florida’s special teams had consistency issues throughout this past season. Durkin will be given another chance to prove he was the right hire when Meyer brought him aboard a year ago.
Travaris Robinson – Defensive Backs – Robinson comes via the Auburn connection. He was All-SEC as a player, spent two years in the NFL, and then returned as a member of the staff in 2006 and 2007. While he doesn’t have professional coaching experience, he has a personal relationship with Muschamp and had been climbing very quickly as an assistant. In three years, Robinson went from Western Kentucky to Southern Miss to Texas Tech. While passing defensive statistics aren’t impressive, Robinson wasn’t working with players he had brought in and had yet to establish a solid secondary at any of the schools. He would seem like an odd choice were it not his relationship to Boom and the experience he had under the coach a few years ago. He gets a pass for being a former SEC star. And before you ask, yes, they all do.
There are a number of others that make up the entire football staff, including legendary strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti and recruiting guru Mark Pantoni. As for the on-the-field coaches, Muschamp still has one more spot available. There are plenty of rumors circulating. A linebackers coach with Durkin handling just special teams, a position-specific DB coach with Robinson taking one unit and a new coach taking another, Bud Kilmer as a discipline supervisor, Michael “Dauber” Dybinski…it really could be anyone. Or no one, but that’s unlikely. Though the positions seem to be covered at the moment, the more the merrier when it comes to recruiting. Sources will tell you it could be a while before the final coach is announced, and we’ll all wait eagerly with bated breath.