Florida Gators: What is a Quality Control Coach?

Over the last two years, Florida Gators football fans have added a new phrase to their vocabulary, “quality control coach”. The phrase has been used in the NFL for the past few decades and over the last few years we have seen an up-tick in quality control coaches in college football.

Last season, the Gators had six quality control coaches and this upcoming season look to have at least that number, if not more.

Because of the renewed focus on quality control coaches, the question has often been asked, “what does a quality control coach do?”

The answer is somewhat nebulous and the NCAA does not even define the role in their exceptionally long 434-page Division 1 Manual.

Responsibilities of the quality control coach are usually defined loosely as breaking down game film, breaking down recruiting film, analyzing statistics, gathering trends, organizing practice plans, developing recruiting relationships with schools (not players), and other administrative roles, such as compliance.

Basically, the role is a catch-all of almost everything that is administrative and monotonous about being a football coach, giving usually young coaches the opportunity to learn and grow as coaches or in the case of new offensive line quality control assistant Bret Ingalls, a chance to get back into the college ranks.

Here are a few job descriptions that you can look at – Colorado, Miami, and Southern California.

If you read these job descriptions, you will see a few things:

  • Editing playbooks with XOS (a software platform)
  • Breakdown game film (their team, their opponents, the NFL, and high school prospects)
  • Statistical breakdowns
  • Poster design
  • Practice scripts
  • Campus tours

You may also notice that there is massive turnover at the quality control role – that’s expected and not a bad thing. Of the six coaches that were quality control coaches for Florida last year, as of today, there are only two remain (Mark DeBastiani and Ryan McNamara). Florida has lost Marquel Blackwell to Toledo (running back coach), John Garrett to Richmond (Offensive Coordinator), Mark Nudelberg to Nevada (special teams coach) and Jeremy Darveau to Valdosta State (offensive line coach) – all upgrades over quality control roles.

You may ask yourself, Dan, why is it good that coaches leave? Because rarely, if ever, is Jim McElwain going to promote a quality control coach to position coach right away. You want coaches to spread their wings, learn new systems, gain more experience, learn how to recruit and develop relationships, and then potentially make a call when you are in need of a coach a few years later.

Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.