Three big offseason keepers for McElwain

The coaching carousel can be a crazy thing and in fact Florida’s football program saw three assistants move on to other jobs and then be replaced in the last two and a half months. It very well could have been more, but head coach Jim McElwain was able to keep some outsiders from poaching a few assistants that he didn’t want to lose.

A big time program like Florida is going to lose assistant coaches to promotions like Geoff Collins from defensive coordinator to the head coaching job at Temple or Torrian Gray from his defensive back position to the same job with the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

Occasionally there is going to be a move like that of Mike Summers where a new venue was going to be best for both parties. Summers left as the offensive line coach at Florida to take the same position at Louisville during the first week of January.

Then there are the times that other programs come calling for your coaches and you have to make the moves necessary if you want to keep them. Florida had at least three of those circumstances happen in the last month.

Before the season was over, running back coach Tim Skipper was named a candidate for a couple of coordinator positions at schools out west. A terrific recruiter and position coach, Skipper came to Florida after coaching linebackers at Colorado State with McElwain and found his spot on the Florida staff coaching on offense. While Skipper supposedly entertained the overtures to a certain extent, he wanted to stay at Florida. However he also wished to move back to the defensive side of the ball.

McElwain named Skipper as the linebacker coach last week in a move that had been expected for a while.

As the college football season ended and coaching moves were happening everywhere, the National Champion Clemson Tigers lost two defensive line coaches. Up first on their target list was Gators’ defensive line coach Chris Rumph.

Rumph has been a huge get for McElwain since he arrived in February of 2015. He has been able to play more young players along the defensive line and get quality reps out of that youth than any coach at the position in recent memory. His recruiting as a whole has been superb with the Gators landing a top group of defensive ends in 2016 and then a top group of defensive tackles in 2017.

Raised in South Carolina and having played at the University of South Carolina with family all over the Palmetto State, the Clemson offer was certainly tempting. McElwain and the Florida administration had to step up, and they did.  Rumph was named Co-Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line coach last week and also received a healthy, yet unspecified pay raise.

McElwain has also had to deal with non-coaching assistants being approached by other programs. Shortly after signing day Director of Player Personnel Drew Hughes was the next program assistant that had to weigh some things when Will Muschamp and South Carolina came calling after signing day. Muschamp was the one that hired Hughes at his current position and knows what kind of job he can do.

Following recruiting for Florida, one huge positive in the last two-plus years has been the amount of big time prospects that visit campus and visit often. While Hughes is limited in his recruiting responsibilities because of NCAA rules, he is certainly the front man in getting these prospects on campus. He also has done a great job in helping recruit the state of Alabama, where he is from.

Hughes declined the move to South Carolina and was retained by McElwain and the Florida program to continue the job he is doing. It is uncertain what had to be done to make this happen, but McElwain certainly thought it was a needed move.

Florida added Ja’Juan Seider, Corey Bell, and Brad Davis as assistant coaches in the last two weeks. They were big hires for the program and certainly focused on recruiting, but keeping Skipper, Rumph, and Hughes were big moves as well. 

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