Muschamp has flexibility in new hire

Replacing Bryant Young as an assistant coach won't be easy. Young left a short but nice legacy as the interior defensive line coach at Florida and the maturation of Sharrif Floyd into a high first round draft pick at the end for this month will be the crowning jewel on that legacy. Still with the hire of Brad lawing in the off-season, head coach Will Muschamp has some flexibility in his next hire.

Before I start, I will say that Muschamp seems rarely caught off guard when these things happen. He did have to promote graduate assistant Bush Hamdan when Aubrey Hill left just before the season in 2012. Other than that, Muschamp seems on top of staff changes and usually has a quick answer. He also seems to have a way of either upgrading or at least bringing in someone that has a nice resume already.

The flexibility with his staff should make this one an easy one.

As mentioned, when he brought in Lawing he brought in a guy that is used to coaching the entire defensive line. He may even prefer it that way. I am not hear to answer that, but only to say that Lawing has been in charge of the entire defensive line for quite a while and done so at major college football programs.

Muschamp did promote D.J. Durkin from linebacker coach to defensive coordinator, but he also dropped his special teams coordinator duties when he did so. Durkin is used to coaching all the linebackers and although he will have to spend some time looking over the whole defense, I don't think it is a major issue for him to remain the only linebacker coach on staff.

Travaris Robinson has done a terrific job in the secondary. We have seen that in the two years since he has been on campus. He also gets help from Muschamp himself who enjoys coaching the safeties and the entire defense for that matter, so again it isn't an issue if there isn't another defensive back coach to add to the mix.

So what does Muschamp do? The beauty is, he could go in any direction.

I do think it imperative that he hires someone to help with the defense. Three assistants on one side of the ball managing 40 or so kids is a lot. They have to do this management on and off the field.

That doesn't mean he can't bring in a coach who has a background in special teams and allow them to assist one of the defensive coaches. That could very well happen.

What I think we will see is someone very versed in recruiting or at least someone Muschamp believes will be a good recruiter. He could go young coach here and someone to nurture at the profession. Again, the beauty of the having these other guys on the defensive staff is that Muschamp can concentrate on a good recruiter that happens to coach defense.

With all of this in mind, we can draw up a list. Keep in mind, a list is all it is. Not many if any times have the assistant coaches we have listed for the job actually become the person for the job. There are a lot of moving parts in hiring an assistant coach and first and foremost comes the other program he is being hired away from and their approach to keeping that assistant.

Nevertheless, here we go… The name dujour right now is Vernon Hargreaves. Hired in January at Houston, he was most recently at South Florida. The father of Gator signee Vernon Hargreaves III, he has as complete of a resume as could be asked for in what the gators need. A multi-year coach in special teams and on the defensive line and at linebacker, his versatility would allow Will Muschamp to place him in any of a number of positions, maybe most importantly as some director of special teams. He and Muschamp would certainly be familiar with each other through the recruiting process.

Vernon Hargreaves

Travis Jones (Seattle Seahawks) is a name that is always mentioned as a defensive assistant when a spot comes open with Muschamp. The two worked for a year with the Miami Dolphins. He is an accomplished coach, but it seems highly unlikely he would leave his brand new situation with the Seahawks where he just went from an assistant defensive line coach with the Saints to THE defensive line coach with in Seattle.

Bo Davis at Texas made the recent move from Alabama and is another name usually mentioned when there is an opening on defense with Muschamp. Davis coaches defensive line, and I think a linebacker and special teams coach is more likely. Still, the salary ($344K) is probably something Florida would have to beat and I don't think there is a chance they go for that.

Marquand Manuel (Seattle Seahawks) is another recent hire of the Seahawks and hired just as a defensive assistant. There is no doubt that Dan Quinn thought enough of him to get him hired in a paid capacity on their staff. The Gator Great player from the late 90's, Manuel had an eight year career in the NFL. Talk among Gator circles is that Manuel was one of the player's favorites and would likely be a good recruiter and was when asked to be as a grad assistant the last two years. The knock here is that he only has a background as a defensive back or coach on defense, but he was an assistant on special teams last season at Florida.

Marquand manuel

Sal Sunseri is a recent hire at Florida State after most recently being let go as the Tennessee defensive coordinator. He has three years of experience in his career as a special teams' coordinator. He's coached both linebackers and defensive line and the salary ($199K) is something the Gators could trump given Young was making $240K.


Would Muschamp raid the Ole' Ball Coach for another assistant? He certainly would if it would help his team win games. Joe Robinson at South Carolina is an interesting coach to look at for the opening. He currently coaches tight ends, but is also the special teams coordinator for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks had some of the most exciting special teams in the SEC in 2012 and Robinson has spent most of his time during his career coaching linebackers or defensive linemen. His salary ($280K), is an issue to overcome, but still he looks like a very good fit.

Joe Robinson

Kirk Olivadotti is currently the inside linebacker coach at Georgia. Prior to Georgia he spent 11 years coaching with the Washington Redskins. He has coached numerous All-Pro players with the Redskins and has been a big part of the defensive success at Georgia in the last two years. He does make a little more ($260K) than the outgoing Young.

Cornell Brown is the outside linebacker and asst. defensive line coach at Virginia Tech. The former Hokie player and national defensive player of the year is back at his alma mater after a seven year stint as a NFL linebacker. Virginia Tech is known for its special teams and every coach participates in coaching them. His salary ($202K) is something that Florida can certainly trump, but you have to wonder if VT would come back to save face from losing a legacy.

Finally, Vincent Brown is the defensive line coach / asst. special teams coordinator at Virginia. The former All-Pro linebacker with the New England Patriots coached inside Linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys for a year. He's coached the last six years in college at both Virginia and Richmond. His salary($179K) looks to be something Florida could trump if they were interested.

Fightin Gators Top Stories