Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

Patience can prove to be a great thing

Trust me. I am right there with you Gator fans. As much as I know that recruiting is the lifeblood of college football, I know that having good coaches that can recruit, especially at this time of year, can lead to those successes on the recruiting trail. Down a coach or two is not opportune right now, but Jim McElwain has already shown that patience in signing a coach instead of rushing it can pay off.

Patience is just not something most fans want to hear about. It is all about the here and now… get it done, get on the phone now with recruits, get them committed, and get them signed. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I am all in for that.

I also have been on record in saying that I feel that there is often a lack of urgency in trying to corral recruits at Florida under the current leadership. You won’t see this staff push kids to commit; they wish to let them do it when they feel ready, instead of trying to make them push them into feeling ready.

But, not everything can be rushed and not everything should be rushed. Sometimes there are reasons things must wait, and sometimes waiting is just the best thing to do in order to make the best choice.

Those that follow the gators on our site understand the issues facing the football staff right now. Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins left to be a head coach at Temple. Offensive line coach Mike Summers left to take the same position at Louisville.

This appears to be the third of three recruiting classes that will be signed with a hole or two on the coaching staff. Some of it likely the doing of head coach Jim McElwain and some of it not.

In his first two months on staff, McElwain was able to get a staff assembled almost in whole before the recruiting season was finished. While he continued to look for a receiver coach, McElwain filled every other spot. In the middle of January, his newly assigned defensive line coach Terrell Williams whom he got from the NFL ranks left for another NFL job, leaving him with two open spots to fill all the way through signing day.

Without a defensive line coach in February of 2015, McElwain still hauled in several defensive linemen in the class. Most notably CeCe Jefferson, but also 2016 star Jabari Zuniga signed on with the gators without knowing who he would call his position coach.

That year before Kerry Dixon was hired on in February, the Gators signed probably their top play maker on offense in the last two seasons in Antonio Callaway.

Defensive back coach Kirk Callahan was let go in January of 2016 at the beginning of the month and deep into the recruiting period. The last class still saw the additions of safeties Jeawon Taylor and Quincy Lenton, along with corners Joseph Putu, C.J. McWilliams, and McArthur Burnett. Not a bad haul and one that should show some dividends real soon on the field. But, the Gators did miss on a couple of notable names heading down the stretch that maybe a defensive back coach could have helped with.

So yes, maybe there is a chance to miss on a big prospect. I can see not having an offensive line coach to close out recruiting might be an issue and I have said as much. But we have some proof that it isn’t necessarily so.

In both cases, most would say McElwain made big upgrades at the position. While Williams and Callahan came with their own accolades, their bios in college don’t really touch that of their replacements… Chris Rumph (DL) and Torrian Gray (DB).

So here we are sitting with a week and a half left until signing day. The Gators are short two coaches, but really just one position coach. Only the offensive line is coach-less at this point with the current eight assistants that are still on board fulfilling all of the other positions.

Yes, there was a big one expected at the close of the dead period in January and yes Mike Locksley chose to stay with Alabama. But, instead of rushing to hire someone that could come in right away and fill that void, McElwain has decided to wait.

https://youtu.be/ErvgV4P6Fzc

Then Summers left a week ago and that wasn’t necessarily a shock to McElwain and company. He certainly has someone in mind to fill the spot. Who knows the reasons for not getting it done yesterday or the day before?

My guess is that he wants to bring in someone like a Rumph or a Gray. Rumph who was responsible for bringing in the only five-star prospect Florida signed a year ago in Antonneous Clayton and two other highly coveted defensive ends as well. Gray, who seems to be on the verge of bringing in a very nice haul of defensive backs to coach up for the next few years.

Both coaches have coached at a high level since they arrived. Can you remember a defensive line coach at Florida that has gotten so much production out of so many young guys and plays almost all of his scholarship guys available, as much as Rumph has? Gray will see two of his guys go on the first round of the NFL Draft. He certainly didn’t seem to slow down the production of Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor.

Both of those guys weren’t going to leave their previous posts before signing day because that is the kind of guys that McElwain wants to bring in and would expect the same in return.

He waited and he got the best guys available.

I can sit here and tell you who I think will be the next offensive line coach and the other coach they are going to bring in, but I don’t know. My guess is that McElwain does. And, if the guy he wants doesn’t come, he will take the time necessary to find that next guy on the list.

Why do I say this?  Because he has already done it, and done it in both of the previous years he was faced with this issue.


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