Defensive Assistant Hot Board

DJ Durkin has been officially announced as the new defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators. It’s a quick and significant hire by Will Muschamp, but it doesn’t stop there for the Florida coach who is heading into his third season.The question now lies in who will replace Durkin on special teams and perhaps Dan Quinn, who did some coaching on the defensive line.

Gator Country has rounded up some possible candidates who could be considered for the newest opening on the Florida Gators coaching staff.

Vernon Hargreaves II: The father of Gators’ verbal commitment Vernon Hargreaves III certainly has the connection to the Florida program with his son planning to attend the university in the summer. Hargreaves II has extensive experience with more than 25 years as an assistant coach at schools like UConn, Miami, East Carolina and most recently USF. Since 2007 at both ECU and USF, Hargreaves II served as defensive ends assistant and special teams coordinator, two positions Florida has an immediate need.

Derek Dooley: Although he’s had some experience as a head coach, it may be hard for Dooley to get another head coaching gig due to his unimpressive tenure at Tennessee. Dooley does have connections to Muschamp, however, dating back to LSU in 2001 and on the Miami Dolphins coaching staff in 2005. If Florida decided to strictly hire a special-teams coordinator, Dooley could have an inside track. He’s got both the SEC coaching experience and NFL experience.

Travis Jones: Jones is the current assistant defensive line coach on the New Orleans Saints staff. Much like these other defensive assistant candidates, Jones also has ties to Muschamp when the two were together at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins. His experience lies in the defensive line and could be a coach to look out for as Muschamp makes his decision. He and Muschamp also played together at Georgia.

Lance Anderson: Since Durkin is the defensive coordinator it’s not outlandish to think that Muschamp may go with someone who Durkin feels comfortable with. While at Stanford, Durkin spent time coaching alongside Anderson as the two were together for three years before Durkin came over to Florida in 2010. Anderson has numerous years as a defensive line and defensive tackle coach. He’s also developed a name for himself as a relentless recruiter as named him National Recruiter of the Year in 2012.

Terry Price: Price was just hired by Texas A&M in 2012, so he may be less likely to move, but he certainly has the qualifications that Muschamp is looking for. Muschamp coached with Price at Aubrun from 2006-07. Price has several years of defensive line coaching experience serving as a defensive line coach since 1994 at the five different schools over that time. Price also recruited several big-time players while at Auburn, including Karlos Dansby and Cadillac Williams.

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Drew is a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. When not at school, Drew resides in Lakeland, Fla. Ever since working on his high school yearbook, Drew has had an interest in pursuing a journalism career after college. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper, The Samford Crimson, Drew has also been with Gator Country as an intern for one year. He enjoys the finer things in life like Tampa Bay Rays baseball and always making sure to make fun of the Atlanta Braves to Andrew Spivey’s face.