Hiring a defensive assistant

The promotion of D.J. Durkin to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn left solved an issue on the staff, but there is still one spot on the defensive side of the coaching staff to fill. Florida head coach Will Muschamp just isn't sure what position the new hire will coach on the field. Durkin has coached linebackers and defensive ends in his career, giving Muschamp some flexibility in his hire.

The preference would be to keep D.J. Durkin as the linebackers coach. The Gators are bringing in five linebackers in the 2013 recruiting class, and they're already young at the position for the 2013 season. Muschamp wants Durkin to stay at the position and grow the underclassmen in the defense.

Since becoming a full time assistant coach in 2005, Durkin has spent four seasons coaching linebackers and four season coaching defensive ends. Three of those four seasons coaching linebackers have come in Gainesville, when Urban Meyer hired him in 2010. His only other year coaching linebackers came in 2006 at Bowling Green.

Durkin coached defensive ends at Bowling Green in 2005 before doing the same at Stanford from 2007-09, all three of his seasons in Palo Alto.

To avoid any more transition, Muschamp would prefer to hire a defensive coach that doesn't work with linebackers.

"It will depend on who we have," Will Muschamp said. "(Durkin has) some ability to coach in different spots. He could coach the secondary if he needed to. I would like to leave him at linebacker from the simple standpoint of, we've got some young guys coming.

"He understands our scheme and system very well. His teaching value for those young players will be very important in their development."

One potential negative of moving Durkin to defensive coordinator is that he isn't expected to be as involved with special teams. Serving as Florida's special teams coach since coming to Gainesville in 2010, Durkin has sparked Florida's special teams to be among the best in the country.

Kicker Caleb Sturgis had three strong seasons under Durkin and punter Kyle Christy came out of nowhere to finish as a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.

Muschamp might have to get creative with special teams, depending on the hire.

"We've got a lot of different avenues to travel down, and I'll address it when we do it," Muschamp said. "I've been in situations where you have a special teams coordinator and he coaches everything like D.J. did. I've been a part of staffs where we've been very successful on special teams and each coach had a part. I coached the punt team and this guy coached punt return and this guy coached kickoff return and this guy coached kickoff coverage teams.

"The bottom line is we're going to find the best fit for the University of Florida and make it work."?

There's no timetable for when the hire will be made, and Muschamp didn't give any names that are possibilities.

"I have some ideas about the next hire," Muschamp said. "We can do some different routes here, but I'm not going to discuss those as far as what we're doing, but I feel very comfortable about our staff and what we're doing."


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