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  • D.J. Durkin, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

    Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would be a good choice to remain on staff in his current position. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators football:
Who joins McElwain?

Written by Nick de la Torre, December 4, 2014, 6 Comments,
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Jeremy Foley and the Florida Gators football program got their man on Thursday morning when they agreed in terms with former Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain. With a head coach in place, the Gators will need to move quickly on multiple fronts.

Everyone will point to recruiting and finishing out this recruiting class that currently only has nine commits is crucial but first McElwain will need to assemble his coaching staff.

Gator Country has a preliminary list that we have assembled for possible coordinators that McElwain will bring on with him for his first season in Gainesville.

Offensive Coordinator

Doug Nussmeier

Nussmeier just finished his first season as offensive coordinator at Michigan. While the Wolverines’ offense was putrid (114th in the country in total offense in 2014) much of that can go back to quarterback play and Devin Gardner.

Nussmeier is young (43) and spent time at Michigan State under John L. Smith before moving on to coach quarterbacks for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), then Fresno State as the offensive coordinator (2008), Washington as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and finally Alabama from 2012-13 as offensive coordinator. Jim McElwain, who was the coordinator before leaving for Colorado State, recommended Nussmeier to Nick Saban for the position.

With Brady Hoke’s firing earlier in the week, Nussmeier will likely be looking for a job soon and his friend McElwain could reach out to a familiar face to join him in Gainesville.

Billy Napier

Napier is the current receivers coach at Alabama where he is in his second season. Prior to that he was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for McElwain at Colorado State.

Napier is the longest shot to be named offensive coordinator on this list but don’t be surprised if he were to join the staff in another role at Florida.

 

Defensive Coordinator

D.J. Durkin

Durkin is the current defensive coordinator at Florida but his role was undermined in the minds of many fans with Muschamp at the helm. Durkin is innately familiar with the roster and the ability of all of the defensive players and he would be able to keep Florida’s defense playing at a very high level if retained.

Durkin has also been a very valuable recruiter for the Gators. As mentioned before, McElwain is facing somewhat of an uphill battle when it comes to recruiting this season so being able to have not only a great coach on the defensive side of the ball but a great recruiter who is familiar with the players and has relationships with the recruits would benefit the Gators in 2015.

 

Jeremy Pruitt

Pruitt was the defensive backs coach at Alabama when McElwain was the offensive coordinator before taking the defensive coordinator position at Florida State for the National Championship season. Pruitt’s defense in Tallahassee finished the year first overall in scoring defense and third in total defense.

He left FSU after just one season to take the same position at Georgia.

A third coaching move in as many seasons may not be a good look for Pruitt but other than D.J. Durkin this would be the best move for the Gators on defense.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. gwaderDecember 4, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Any chance of Greg Mattison being offered DC. Position if no deal done with Durkin ?

  2. IndianaStewDecember 4, 2014, 4:48 pm

    That’s a pretty simplistic list.
    I can see all of the offensive guys being people he is quite familiar with as he is an offensive coach. But the defensive side of the ball could have significant changes. There are quite a few good defensive resumes out there as well…. Here are a few who are unemployed (not even counting whomever he could pursue that already is working as a DC somewhere):

    Gene Chizik. Knows UF, knows the SEC. Good recruiter. Was one of the hottest DC’s in the country before taking over head coaching responsibilities.
    Bo Pellini. Not from this part of the country, so I doubt it… but he was also a GREAT DC and average head coach. I wouldn’t mind this one bit.
    Mathison will likely be let go with the Michigan shakeup. He has some familiarity with UF obviously and is familiar recruiting this area. McElwain knows him from playing against him years ago… Interesting idea.
    Durkin is an obvious one that is a wildcard. How much was him? How much was Champ? I think we all have our opinions, but who knows…

  3. gatorcalDecember 4, 2014, 5:00 pm

    “Napier is the longest shot to be named offensive coordinator on this list…”
    Am I missing something here? I only see 1 other name on the “list”. Are you saying that Nussmeier is pretty much a lock?

  4. scooterpDecember 4, 2014, 7:24 pm

    I can see Lawing and T-rob staying on for at least the next year anyway, if anything for recruiting purposes….and they did produce on the field. Not sure about Durkin…I can’t see too many being retained particularly on one side of the ball when you’re trying to implement your own culture and team philosophy. If I was to rank in order of priority ….1) Lawing 2) T-Rob 3) Summers 4) Durkin 5) Lewis….his TE can’t catch, but not sure if that’s him or WM who keep moving DE to the offense….but Lewis can recruit and I believe he is the one who opened up the pipeline to New Orleans and the lower delta.

  5. malscottDecember 4, 2014, 10:11 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Durkin. If he hasn’t figured it out by now, Lord help him. Additionally, he appears to be a good guy, knows the players and his recruiting connections, as mentioned, are fabulous. He could be a lot better than any of us even know. OC? geez, who the heck knows? After going through three in four years, I’m beginning to wonder if we have any players capable of actually playing offense. I’ll defer to the coaches choice. I’m not sure he’ll call me for my opinion anyway. I guess we’re off and running. Good Lord, please shine down on the Gators, how about a little something for the effort…Go Gators.

  6. snowprintDecember 5, 2014, 11:49 am

    I could care less who the assistants are. I just want them to be people that McElwain chooses, not those that are forced upon him by the control freak Foley. If it true, as some have reported, that, part of the deal to get the job was that he had to retain some coaches from Muschamp’s staff, which he doesn’t even know, that’s a horrible way to start things out. If it’s also true that Foley likes to drop in and watch film, that’s an additional sign that Foley is not content to hire a coach and let him make any decision dealing with the football program. If you’ve trusted someone enough to hire them, that’s enough to get out of the way and not make any “suggestions” who should be on their staff or be a guy who thinks he’s another Jerry Jones by coming around to watch film. If McElwain wants to interview any of the present staff and hire them, fine, but it should be something he decides, not the egomaniac Foley. As far as recruiting, I would think everyone would have figured out by now how overrated recruiting rankings are. Missouri has won the East for the second year in a row, where were they ranked in recruiting compared to UF the past five years? It’s more about getting the players you want for your system than how many stars they have. To keep any of the present staff because of recruiting is foolish, it hasn’t helped UF the past five years and this year is going to be a down year in recruiting regardless of who is on the staff. There’s plenty o time to get recruiting cranked back up for next year when, unlike this year, recruits might actually see some improvement on offense on the field, not just a lot of hot air that was blown at them last year by Roper.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Durkin_DJ_Florida_Gators_Football_110213_Bowie-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FootballThe Latest ,,,,,,,
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Jeremy Foley and the Florida Gators football program got their man on Thursday morning when they agreed in terms with former Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain. With a head coach in place, the Gators will need to move quickly on multiple fronts.

Everyone will point to recruiting and finishing out this recruiting class that currently only has nine commits is crucial but first McElwain will need to assemble his coaching staff.

Gator Country has a preliminary list that we have assembled for possible coordinators that McElwain will bring on with him for his first season in Gainesville.

Offensive Coordinator

Doug Nussmeier

Nussmeier just finished his first season as offensive coordinator at Michigan. While the Wolverines’ offense was putrid (114th in the country in total offense in 2014) much of that can go back to quarterback play and Devin Gardner.

Nussmeier is young (43) and spent time at Michigan State under John L. Smith before moving on to coach quarterbacks for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), then Fresno State as the offensive coordinator (2008), Washington as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and finally Alabama from 2012-13 as offensive coordinator. Jim McElwain, who was the coordinator before leaving for Colorado State, recommended Nussmeier to Nick Saban for the position.

With Brady Hoke’s firing earlier in the week, Nussmeier will likely be looking for a job soon and his friend McElwain could reach out to a familiar face to join him in Gainesville.

Billy Napier

Napier is the current receivers coach at Alabama where he is in his second season. Prior to that he was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for McElwain at Colorado State.

Napier is the longest shot to be named offensive coordinator on this list but don’t be surprised if he were to join the staff in another role at Florida.

 

Defensive Coordinator

D.J. Durkin

Durkin is the current defensive coordinator at Florida but his role was undermined in the minds of many fans with Muschamp at the helm. Durkin is innately familiar with the roster and the ability of all of the defensive players and he would be able to keep Florida’s defense playing at a very high level if retained.

Durkin has also been a very valuable recruiter for the Gators. As mentioned before, McElwain is facing somewhat of an uphill battle when it comes to recruiting this season so being able to have not only a great coach on the defensive side of the ball but a great recruiter who is familiar with the players and has relationships with the recruits would benefit the Gators in 2015.

 

Jeremy Pruitt

Pruitt was the defensive backs coach at Alabama when McElwain was the offensive coordinator before taking the defensive coordinator position at Florida State for the National Championship season. Pruitt’s defense in Tallahassee finished the year first overall in scoring defense and third in total defense.

He left FSU after just one season to take the same position at Georgia.

A third coaching move in as many seasons may not be a good look for Pruitt but other than D.J. Durkin this would be the best move for the Gators on defense.

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Aug 29, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams head coach Jim McElwain holds the Centennial Cup following the win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jim McElwain to coach the Florida Gators

Former CSU coach Jim McElwain will be the next head coach of the Florida Gators.

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