Florida hires Utah OL coach Tim Davis

The University of Florida announced Monday that coach Will Muschamp has hired Utah’s Tim Davis as the Gators’ new offensive line coach. Former offensive line coach Frank Verducci, who coached with previous offensive coordinator Charlie Weis when Weis was the head coach at Notre Dame, left to “pursue other interests.”

Davis previously worked with Muschamp as an offensive line assistant when the two coached for Miami Dolphins in 2005.

“He was a guy that brought energy and passion to the job every day,’’ Muschamp said in a press release. “He is going to bring toughness. I thought he did a great job with our offensive line [with the Dolphins]. Everywhere he has been and he’s coached they have been able to run the football and create the play-actions of it, be able to spread the field, understand the protections and do what you’ve got to do to be able to keep the quarterback upright.

“You look at some of the guys he has worked for and you talk about Barry Alvarez, you talk about Nick Saban, you talk about Pete Carroll. You talk about those guys and what they have accomplished. He knows what it takes to be successful.”

Davis has a lengthy, 30-year resume, with ties to a handful of coaches at Florida including Muschamp, running backs coach Brian White and tight ends coach Derek Lewis.

“It was easy because of Will and Dan and Brian and D-Lew,’’ Davis said. “You don’t make a decision like this – leaving your home state and everybody you know – without having somebody you know. That’s one of the things in coaching you can’t do. You have to be able to connect yourself with the guys you work with.

“The SEC is the premiere conference in the country, and you get a chance to work with guys you’ve worked with who are very successful, very motivated, they want to be the best. You’re working in a great environment and a great program like Florida. It’s everything that you dream about.”

He coached with White at Wisconsin from 1997-2001 as tight ends coach and later worked with Muschamp on the Miami Dolphins staff in 2005, where he served as an offensive line assistant. He worked on the same staff as Lewis at Minnesota from 2009-10 as the offensive line coach.

When Muschamp left Miami in 2006 to take the defensive coordinator position at Auburn, Davis remained on the Dolphins’ staff with current Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban hired Davis as his director of player personnel at Alabama in 2008.

Following his stint at Alabama, Davis took a job at Minnesota as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator from 2009-10 before returning to Utah, his alma mater, as offensive line coach in 2011.

Davis played at Utah as an offensive tackle from 1978-80 and later worked on staff with the Utes from 1981-82 and again from 1990-96. He was a student assistant in the first stint before returning to coach the offensive line from 1990-93. From 1994-96, he coached the Utes’ offensive tackles and tight ends.

His most impressive stint coaching the offensive line came at USC, where he coached offensive lines that blocked for eventual Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush (since vacated), helping the Trojans earn the 2003 AP national championship and the 2004 BCS National Championship (since vacated).

At USC, his offensive line helped block for a passing attack that ranked in the nation’s Top 13 in each of his three years there.

Archived NCAA statistics were only available dating back to 1999. The highest-ranked rushing attack Davis fielded in his stints as an offensive line coach at USC (’02-04), Minnesota (’09-10) and Utah (’11) was 33rd at USC in 2004. In the other five years, the offensive lines he helped coach failed to produce a rushing attack ranked in the nation’s Top 50.

In the past three years, Davis’ offensive lines have given up 2.4 sacks per game.

Florida, meanwhile, is looking to revamp an offensive line that was plagued by injuries and lack of depth during the 2011 season. The Gators finished with the nation’s 73rd-ranked rushing attack at 143.0 yards per game while giving up 23 sacks, ranking 54th nationally.

The Gators return four starters on the offensive line, but have only 13 healthy scholarship players entering the 2012 season. Florida is still trying to land unsigned 2012 offensive line recruit Fehoko Fanaika.

“I’m really fired up,’’ Davis said. “You’ve got to bring some tempo to it, some personality to it. I like what I see and am ready to go.”

Tim Davis OL Coaching Stats
School Year Rushing Offense Passing Offense Sacks Allowed
Utah 2011 137.6 (80th) 173.2 (99th) 33 (95th)
Minnesota 2010 135.3 (86th) 226.1 (57th) 17 (29th)
2009 99.5 (111th) 207.0 (75th) 41 (113th)
USC 2004 177.4 (33rd) 271.7 (13th)
2003 155.9 (58th) 291.6 (13th)
2002 142.5 (65th) 306.8 (8th)