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New Florida Gators staff is heavy on NFL experience

New Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, talking with tackle Brandon Mebane, comes from the Seahawks.

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New Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, talking with tackle Brandon Mebane, comes from the Seahawks.

GAINESVILLE — In the past two days, new Florida coach Will Muschamp has filled eight of the nine vacant positions on his staff, and the group includes three coaches with extensive NFL experience.

Headlining the list is former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, 54, who coached four years with the Super Bowl champion Patriots and is now the offensive coordinator with the Chiefs.

The hiring of Weis officially signals the end of the era of Urban Meyer's spread offense at Florida. Muschamp said when he was hired that he planned to run a pro-style offense, and landing Weis makes good on that promise.

"Charlie was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in an offensive coordinator," Muschamp said. "He has both college and pro experience and has been a play-caller in the NFL. He has four Super Bowl rings, and his accomplishments and his ability to develop quarterbacks speak for themselves."

Others joining the staff: Dan Quinn, a 17-year coaching veteran who has spent the past 10 seasons in the NFL, will be the defensive coordinator, and Frank Verducci, 53, who has 28 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and NFL levels, will oversee the offensive line and be running game coordinator.

Muschamp did not announce his staff until this week out of respect for Meyer, but it appears the group he has assembled is having an impact. Several recruits who had dropped the Gators or said they were taking a wait-and-see approach have reportedly reaffirmed interest.

Weis and Quinn will not officially join the staff until their teams have completed play in the NFL playoffs.

Quinn has spent the past two seasons with the Seahawks as defensive line coach and has held that position in each of the past eight NFL seasons, including stints with the Jets (2007-08), Dolphins (2005-06) and 49ers (2003-04).

"Dan and I worked on the Miami Dolphins staff together, and he is one of the best I've been around in terms of teaching fundamentals," Muschamp said. "He understands how defenses will need to be multiple and how to put players in a position to be successful."

Muschamp praised the Kansas City and Seattle organizations for the way they've assisted in the transition of both coaches.

On Monday, Muschamp hired George Wynn to be director of football operations. Wynn was the assistant athletics director for football operations at Texas for the past six seasons. He was a three-year starter at cornerback for Georgia from 1989 to 1991.

As for the players, the big question now is, who will stay? Intense interest surrounds QB John Brantley, who has said he'll consult with his family before deciding on his future.

"He's basically trying to feel out the coaches himself like the younger guys are," senior LB Brandon Hicks said. "When a new coach is coming in, for a quarterback, you don't know how the offense is going to be, what type of offense he's expecting, how the attitude (of the new coach) is towards him and how he plays is going to be. … I believe he's going to stay, and I hope he does."

The prevailing feeling among the Gator seniors is that most underclassmen will stay put.

"I think most of them will make the right decision and stay and give this new regime a chance, try to get Florida back where it should be," senior DL Duke Lemmens said.

Gator All-Stars: Outback Bowl MVP Ahmad Black and three other former Gators are scheduled to participate in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 29 in Mobile, Ala. Black, a safety, will be joined by K Chas Henry, C Mike Pouncey and OL Marcus Gilbert.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

New Florida Gators staff is heavy on NFL experience 01/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 8:54pm]
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