Tag:Frank Verducci
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:13 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:35 pm
 

Gators hire Utah's Davis to coach offensive line

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The usual post-Signing Day position-coaching shuffle has continued across the SEC, with Florida the latest to make a move by naming Tim Davis their new offensive line coach.

The Gators announced Monday that Davis would be taking over for former line coach Frank Verducci, a who spent only one season in Gainesville after being hired, in part, due to his familiarity with the now-departed Charlie Weis. Davis arrives from Utah, where he held the same position.

The Gainesville Sun reported Monday that Verducci was fired by Muschamp after interviewing for the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line position.

Despite the Utes' long-held reputation as one of the FBS's leading spread practitioners, Will Muschamp -- as he has been with all of his offensive staffing hires -- was quick to point out Davis's pro-style bona fides. Davis worked alongside Muschamp with the Miami Dolphins and has spent time with some of the country's most recognizable pro-style programs at Wisconsin, Alabama and USC.

"Tim is a perfect fit for our program - he has a history of coaching in a pro-style offense and shares the same program philosophies," Muschamp said in a statement. "It will be a seamless transition for our players and staff ... He understands the values that we put on the line of scrimmage and he will help us get where we want to be at that position after Coach Verducci made a decision to pursue other interests. We wish Frank the best of luck and appreciate his efforts towards the Gator program."

Like Verducci, Davis likely received his offer to join the Gator staff based not only on his familiarity with Muschamp's preferred style of offense, but the rest of the staff as well. In addition to his time alongside Muschamp in Miami, Davis worked with current Florida running backs coach Brian White at Wisconsin and tight ends coach Derek Lewis with Minnesota.

"I'm excited to work with Coach Muschamp again and join the Florida football program," Davis said. "Like most assistant coaches, I've been on a number of coaching staffs and usually there is a transition period when you join a new staff. I don't look at this as joining a new staff, having worked with Coach Muschamp, Dan Quinn, Brian White and Derek Lewis in the past. I understand the shared philosophies of the staff and look forward to being part of the Gator Nation."

Davis has work cut out for him--despite Muschamp's emphasis on a powerful Crimson Tide-like running game, the Gators finished 73rd in rushing in 2011.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Florida

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Florida , who starts spring practice today.

Spring Practice Question: What's going to be drawn on the blank slate of the Florida offense?

As spring practice 2011 opens, there may be no single unit in the entire country more intriguing than the Florida offense.

It's true. Consider that just three years ago it was the envy of college football, an unstoppable force led by the Heisman-winning Tim Tebow, featuring the most explosive receiving/rushing playmaker in the college game in Percy Harvin, drawn up and play-called by one of the best spread-option gurus in the nation in Dan Mullen, positively littered with future successful pros like Maurkice Pouncey and Aaron Hernandez ... it was the kind of offense custom-built to win a national championship, and it did. And then two seasons later, in the hands of Steve Addazio,  it was a crumbling heap that finished an unthinkable 82nd in total offense. That was an offense built to go 7-5, and it did, too.

So it's hardly surprising Will Muschamp decided to scrap the entire thing and start over. It's maybe somewhat surprising, though, he'd start over with something he's familiar with but Florida hasn't run in ages: a true two-back, under-center, pro-style system as run by the newly-contented Charlie Weis.

The result of that decision is that what we know about the new Gator offense is dwarfed by what we don't, the questions at this stage far outnumbering the answers. A sampling:

Is Weis's offense going to incorporate anything left over from the Meyer era? It's not what Weis knows or what Muschamp hired him for, so don't expect much different from Weis's offenses at Notre Dame or the Kansas City Chiefs. But with a collection of personnel recruited for (and in many cases, much better-suited) the Meyer spread, there must be the temptation to include certain elements of the old scheme here and there. We'll see if Weis gives in to that temptation this spring.

Can John Brantley's career be salvaged? If there's any former Meyer recruit who might have been happy to see the offense overhauled, it would have to be the pass-first Brantley, who was asked by Addazio to fill many of the running-game holes Tebow did without only the tiniest fraction of the success. Weis's system could make Brantley a star, but whatever offense he's running, Brantley will have to be substantially more poised this spring if he's going to hold off a challenge from early-enrolled freshman Jeff Driskel.

What happens to the heirs to Harvin? What success the Gator offense had in 2010 was frequently the result of getting the ball to Jeff Demps, the diminutive sprinter who took several handoffs the distance. But a pro-style tailback job doesn't typically go to backs of Demps's (or fellow veteran blazer Chris Rainey's) size, and Demps's history of nagging injuries won't help him convince Weis and Muschamp he or Rainey will be ready to be an every-down back. With one of those injuries sidelining Demps for at least the start of spring, the larger Mike Gillislee or Mack Brown may be able to stake their claim to the position.

Will the offensive line bounce back? Much of the disappointment of 2010 started with the disappointing play up front, as a veteran line began its year with Mike Pouncey memorably dribbling snaps back to Brantley in the season opener and never seemed to truly recover. Now the Gators enter spring with a new line coach brought in from the NFL in Frank Verducci, and just one healthy 2010 starter available. But the competition for open spots and fresh voice following the departure of Addazio could lead to better results all the same.

Will any playmakers step up in the receiving positions? Yes, the receivers were a problem last year too, as the entire corps of wideouts and tight ends totaled just eight touchdown receptions and as a team the Gators averaged barely more than 10 yards a completion. Deonte Thompson led the way by netting 15 yards per-catch and 570 yards total; a big spring should establish him as the team's clearcut No. 1 and a potential All-SEC candidate. But it will also be worth watching Jordan Reed and Trey Burton, top-drawer athletes who moonlighted as Wildcat quarterbacks a year ago and have been shifted into starting roles as a tight end and slot receiver, respectively. If Thompson's ready to take the next step and Weis can find the best way to put Reed and Burton to use, the Gators could come out of spring with plenty of optimism regarding their receiving corps.

With so many questions, it seems unlikely Florida will find the right answers to all of them. But with so many potential answers at virtually any position you choose, whatever Weis and Muschamp cook up, it promises to be fascinating viewing ... and at the least, a good bit more effective than the not-even-close-to-fascinating viewing the Gators offered last season.


 
 
 
 
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