For the sixth consecutive year, the Florida Gators will kick off their season opener with a new coordinator of some form or another. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is returning to the Seattle Seahawks in the same capacity. As a result, Florida special teams coordinator and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin will move up to defensive coordinator effective immediately.
What does it mean for Florida? Ultimately, not much.
My main concern with Quinn leaving yesterday was that the Gator defense would suffer from the lack of continuity on the coaching staff. Alabama has had the same defensive coordinator for the entirety of Nick Saban’s tenure, and it shows. Florida is losing the coaching turnover battle – Strong, Austin, Quinn, Durkin, Mullen, Addazio, Weis and Pease all since 2008 – and it also shows. But with Durkin being promoted from within, continuity isn’t as big of an issue, as long as he doesn’t morph into Addazio de la Defense.
Consider this: In Will Muschamp’s introductory press conference, he said he wasn’t even sure if he would be calling the defense himself or not.
I think that defense is my strength. I have not decided yet whether or not I will call the defenses or not. That will be decided based on who we hire and who we’re able to bring in.
He brought in Quinn, an NFL defensive line coach with no college experience to speak of. I would say it’s more likely that Muschamp worked with Quinn to groom him into a good coordinator rather than giving him carte blanche to run the defense. That is to say: This is Muschamp’s defense, not Quinn’s.
Now with Durkin coming up, the Florida staff is basically the same situation. Even better, Durkin is the lone holdover from Urban Meyer’s staff. How’s that for continuity?
So the main concern now is to replace the special teams coordinator, something that could probably happen from within or simply fall to Muschamp, and/or find a new defensive line coach, because that was Quinn’s specialty. If you want something to be concerned about, that’s it.