Multiple sources have informed Gator Country that Will Muschamp has filled his coaching staff’s vacancy with South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
Similar to Dan Quinn’s role when he was at Florida, Lawing is expected to coach defensive ends while Bryant Young will continue to coach defensive tackles.
In this roundtable, Gator Country takes a closer look at Lawing’s background as well as reactions from Gator Country staff members.
The Hickory, N.C. native has held two separate coaching stints at South Carolina and started his first one in 1989 with the Gamecocks as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
When he left South Carolina in 1998, Lawing kept the same position with Michigan State under Nick Saban until 2002. After a few years off, Lawing spent two seasons at North Carolina as the team’s defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator before returning to South Carolina in 2006 as the defensive line coach.
His 20-plus years of coaching experience on the defensive line will provide give the position a veteran presence. And with talented underclassmen like Dante Fowler, Jonathan Bullard and several other players, his wealth of experience could prove to be vital for one of the nation’s toughest defenses.
In his most recent time at South Carolina, Lawing has led the Gamecocks’ defensive line to tons of success. In 2010, the defensive line set a school record of 41 sacks in a single season before breaking that same record in 2012 with 43.
Lawing also has coached high profile players from Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney to Eric Norwood and Julian Peterson. Lawing’s experience proves he has been one of the best at grooming young talent on the defensive line.
GC Staff Reactions
Mike Capshaw: Wow! Actually make that a double WOW! in all caps and with an exclamation point.
Each time Florida coach Will Muschamp has a chance to improve his staff, he exceeds all expectations, such as when he convinced former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips to join his staff as receivers coach.
Once again, Muschamp has solidified his staff with the best in the business.
As if having former NFL All-Pro Bryant Young coaching the defensive line wasn’t enough, Muschamp has landed a veteran defensive line coach who, by all accounts, is among the best in the country in Brad Lawing. Now, the Gators have one of the top young coaches and one of the top veteran coaches teaching defensive linemen.
Talk about a 1-2 punch. It will be difficult to find another staff that can offer defensive line prospects more knowledge than they’ll receive if they choose to sign with Florida. Lawing has elevated the game of stars such as Jadeveon Clowney and dozens of others who ended up cashing in by playing on Sundays.
I mean, what defensive lineman could turn down that opportunity?
Drew Laing: Although we’re just learning more about who Brad Lawing really is, at first glance it seems like another home run hire for Muschamp.
Lawing has tons of experience coaching SEC defensive lines after spending 17 years at South Carolina. The line of scrimmage is where the games are won or lost in the SEC and it seems like it’s tough to do better as a coach than Lawing.
His history of coaching big-time defensive linemen intrigues me the most. Having a guy who has coached Jadeveon Clowney and Melvin Ingram on the coaching staff sounds promising. I’m interested to see what Lawing can do with the Gators young defensive line stars in Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard.
It’s too early to really judge this hire until we see what Lawing does during the season, but initially it looks like it’s another gain for Florida’s coaching staff.
Alex Gray: Brad Lawing is a big pick-up for Florida. Of course, the name of his most recent protégé, Jadeveon Clowney will automatically get Florida fans excited, but it’s hardly his coaching of Clowney that makes this a valuable pick up for UF.
Clowney is a freak of nature that would be successful no matter who is position coach is. It’s Lawing’s recent work with former all-Americans Melvin Ingram and Eric Norwood that really catch my attention.
Ingram originally came to South Carolina as a linebacker in 2007 before moving to defensive end during the middle of the season in 2009. After a 2010 season in which he recorded nine sacks, Ingram exploded in 2011, recording 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss while becoming a consensus first-team all-American.
Perhaps more impressive than Lawing’s work with Ingram was the job he did in helping to turn Eric Norwood into an all-SEC performer at defensive end. Norwood was an undersized 6-foot-1 defensive end for the Gamecocks, and during both he and Lawing’s first seasons in Columbia in 2006, Lawing took the former three-star player and molded him into a freshman all-American who became a terror off the edge for the Gamecocks despite his size disadvantage. Norwood would eventually leave South Carolina as the school’s all-time leader in sacks.
Usually, when a player with physical limitations is able to dominate in the fashion that Norwood did, it’s often because of great technique, a direct correlation of great coaching.
Lawing doesn’t bring forth a reputation as a great recruiter, but when a coach can say that he tutored a phenom like Clowney, and turned in unheralded stars like Ingram and Norwood into household names in SEC circles, it will undoubtedly catch a recruit’s attention.
As talented as the Florida defensive line has been over the last few seasons, there have still been an alarmingly low number of sacks. Perhaps Lawing will be able to turn the tide for Florida in the pass-rushing department.
Judging by fan reaction on twitter and message boards, South Carolina fans are taking this loss pretty hard, further suggesting that UF made an excellent hire. Also, it cannot be lost that Florida is taking a coach from a division rival, proving that Gainesville is still a preferred destination for recruits and coaches alike.
Andrew Spivey: The news of the hiring of Brad Lawing is great news for Florida who will now add one of the top defensive line coaches in the country.
While Lawing is not a top notch recruiter his name is a draw to prospects especially when he can tell people he coached Javadeon Clowney.
Lawing has made South Carolina into one of the top defensive lines units in college football, besides having Clowney on the team.
On the recruiting front, Lawing has been recruiting 2014 defensive lineman Deshawn Hand for sometime now and several other 2014 prospects. The hiring will certainly help on the field and off the field and with the talent already at Florida he could make them even better.
Dan Thompson: Lawing is an incredible coach and is a valuable upgrade to the Gators coaching staff. He has coached at some great schools under some great coaches (Spurrier, Saban) and has proven he can put talent into the league. His work with Jadeveon Clowney is most notably, but look at Eric Norwood, Devin Taylor, and Julian Peterson as proof of his ability.
He is also a great recruiter. He was a recruiting coordinator at Michigan State and North Carolina. He pulled in Marcus Lattimore and John Abraham, among dozens of other very talented players.
Very, very good hire. Give Muschamp a ton of credit for pulling a DL coach, who has been at South Carolina for the past seven years and mentioned he wanted to retire there, to come to Florida. Wow.
GC Member Reactions (taken from BullGator Den)
Rottweiler13: Whoa. Seems like an awesome hire considering how good South Carolina’s line has been lately…even before Clowney.
ncgatr1: Pretty big hire, another home run for Muschamp. He just keeps rolling with these coaches.
brainstorm: Gamecock fans not happy about losing Lawing.
mdgator05: We don’t need a great recruiter. We have great recruiters all over the place. We need a great coach to coach our players after we bring them into the fold. I don’t know enough about South Carolina to comment on that (obviously a guy like Clowney doesn’t need a great coach), but at first glance it appears that we did that.