Staff Hirings a Good Sign for Future

If you are among the many hoping that Urban Meyer will be back on the Florida sidelines this fall if not sooner, then Tuesday's staff hiring announcement is a very good sign. The addition of D.J. Durkin and re-hiring of Stan Drayton make it clear that Meyer remains in charge and fully intends to lead this program into the future.

The selection of Durkin might also indicate that Meyer has identified at least one area where he will be able to push back a bit.

The first and most telling aspect of this comes with the news release itself and that fact the Florida elected to quote Meyer and not interim head coach Steve Addazio.

"Coach Addazio and I worked together on this and are excited to have D.J. and Stan join our coaching staff," said Urban Meyer. "Both guys are familiar with the plan we have for our program, our coaches and our student-athletes. It will be a smooth transition and they both bring a high level of expertise to the table and have proven to be good recruiters."

If Meyer and UF were less than confident about his eventual return the announcement would have quoted Addazio instead. By quoting Meyer the Gators were delivering a clear message to its players, fans and prospects that Urban Meyer remains in control of the program.

The hiring of D.J. Durkin also has Meyer's fingerprints all over it. The energetic 31 year old served as a graduate assistant during Meyer's two seasons as Bowling Green. Meyer has a track record of filling vacancies with guys who have worked with him and impressed him in the past. The fact that Durkin has extensive experience coordinating special teams is a sign that Meyer will use that as an area where he can delegate more authority and bring a little more balance (sanity?) to his work load.

Additionally the return of Stan Drayton to tutor Gator running backs is something only Meyer could have executed. Drayton left the Gators for Tennessee while voicing his preference for an offense where the running backs were more involved. If there was any "forgiveness" needed for his departure only Meyer could grant it. Florida's transition from Tim Tebow to John Brantley virtually guarantees the running backs will be much more involved than they were in Drayton's last season at UF ('07) and this past year when Tebow had more carries (217) than Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey combined (188).

As I write this the status of Vance Bedford and defining of coaching roles and titles remains unsettled. It appears clear that Chuck Heater will have either the title of coordinator or co-coordinator for the defense. If Bedford returns Florida will be set. If not, look for former Notre Dame assistant Corwin Brown or Ohio State's Taver Johnson to get the nod.


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