Jim McElwain: Coaching staff update
Now that the hard part is out of the way for the Florida Gators — hiring a new head coach — the pressing need for Jim McElwain is to make decisions on his coaching staff.
The former Colorado State head coach said during his introductory press conference on Saturday that no decisions have been made at this time.
So what’s the latest on how McElwain could fill out his first coaching staff at Florida?
Will he retain any of Will Muschamp’s staff?
Former Florida head coach may have struggled to win games, but for the most part he excelled at hiring assistant coaches (except for offensive coordinator).
As with any head coaching change, there’s always that awkward period of time where it’s unclear just how many of the current coaches will keep their jobs and which ones will be refreshing those resumes.
For McElwain, nothing official has been decided but FootballScoop.com reported last week that athletic director Jeremy Foley wants McElwain to keep two of Muschamp’s assistant coaches on staff.
Per the report:
Foley and McElwain, per sources, are in agreement that it would be best for Florida football to retain defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson at a minimum.
Durkin and Robinson seem like obvious retention candidates for McElwain, considering the success they’ve had while at Florida and their ability to recruit. Robinson is the main recruiter for the Gators in throughout South Florida.
What about the Colorado State staff?
McElwain was a crucial part in the resurgence of the Colorado State Rams during his three years there. He took them from a 4-8 record in 2012 to a 10-2 record this season. Of course, none of that could have happened without a good coaching staff, so will McElwain bring any of his old CSU assistants with him to Gainesville?
According to the Orlando Sentinel, it doesn’t appear likely.
At this point, Jim McElwain does not plan to bring any members of staff at CSU with him to the Gators, a source told the Sentinel.
While the Rams have had great success this season, Florida fans won’t concern themselves with no CSU coaches joining McElwain as long as the Gators show similar offensive success next season.
Possible names for offensive coordinator
Without a doubt, the most important hire for McElwain will be the offensive coordinator position. McElwain, himself, has great offensive knowledge and will have a big part in coaching the offense, but because of the trouble Muschamp had at hiring this position, it will be a hire closely watched and scrutinized.
Who are some candidates that have been reported as possibilities?
- Billy Napier (WR coach at Alabama) — Napier and McElwain have some history working together. When McElwain was at Alabama, Napier was an offensive analyst and then was the QBs coach at CSU during McElwain’s first year there. Plus, Napier’s work with Amari Cooper this season doesn’t hurt, either.
- Doug Nussmeier (OC at Michigan) — With Brady Hoke out at Michigan, it’s likely that the new coach will bring in his own assistants, meaning Nussmeier may be out of a job. His experience in the SEC as Alabama’s OC in 2013 is a plus and his success as a quarterbacks coach with the Crimson Tide is attractive as well.
- Doug Baldwin (OC at Colorado State) — Reports suggest McElwain won’t bring any of his CSU staff over to UF, but if he does end up bringing someone, Baldwin makes the most sense. Not only have the two developed quite the rapport over the last three years, but Baldwin’s success speaks for itself. He’s been nominated for the Broyles Award in 2013 and 2014, an award given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Think former Bama OC Doug Nussmeier and current Bama WRs coach Billy Napier are strong possibilities to join Jim McElwain’s staff at UF.
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) December 5, 2014