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January 5, 2011

College Football Report - Florida and Miami Staffs Starting to Come Together:

The University of Miami and University of Florida are near completing the process of beginning a new era of football. Following the hiring of Al Golden and Will Muschamp as head coaches of their respective football programs, the next step was assembling a staff around them.

The direction of hiring the two are heading in is vastly different, but the similarities and backgrounds within each coach’s staff seem to exsit.

Muschamp, 39, who comes to Florida from the University of Texas, is one hire away from completing his coaching staff. He got off to busy start to the New Year, welcoming four new assistants to the staff, including Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and ex-Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis (below), as Florida’s new offensive coordinator.

When looking at Muschamp’s staff, it’s clear the former Texas defensive coordinator was thinking safe, going with experience and age over a younger, possible up-and-coming coach.

Along with Weis, 54, Muschamp has brought in Dan Quinn, former Seattle Seahawks defensive line coach, as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, and Frank Verducci, former Bengals, Cowboys and Bills tight ends and offensive line coach, as offensive line and running game coordinator. All three, Weis, Quinn and Verducci have strong NFL ties.

Muschamp retained Florida coaches Stan Drayton, running backs and recruiting coordinator, D.J. Dunkin, linebackers and special teams, and Brian White, tight ends coach. Strength and conditioning Coach Mickey Marotti will also stay on staff. Two recent hires include wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill, former at the University of Miami and Travaris Robinson as defensive backs coach.

The interesting aspect to Muschamp’s hires are that only George Wynn, director of football operations, and Robinson have previous coaching ties to Muschamp. Wynn comes to Florida after previously holding the same role with the Longhorns, only as an assistant. Robinson was a part of Auburn’s staff while Muschamp was defensive coordinator for the Tigers from 2006-’07.

The strong NFL ties and an older staff seems to be what Muschamp has brought to town. Weis, Quinn and Wynn are all seasoned veterans in coaching.

Al Golden, 41, seems to be taking a different approach to filling his staff at Miami. Background and previous working experience with Golden seems to be the norm. The former Temple coach has brought along three assistants with him from the Owls program.

Mark D’Onofrio, former Temple defensive coordinator, accepted the same position with the Hurricanes. Paul Williams, a Temple defensive backs coach, followed D’Onofrio’s lead, becoming Miami’s defensive backs coach. Jethro Franklin (below), who spent one year at Temple after previously serving on Pete Carroll’s staff at USC, will be the Hurricanes new defensive line coach.

Golden has kept Miami linebackers Coach Michael Barrow and offensive line Coach Jeff Stoutland, as well as strength and conditioning Coach Andreu Swasey. Golden also hired former Connecticut running backs coach Terry Richardson as the Hurricanes backfield coach and Brennan Carroll, Pete’s son, as tight ends coach.

The interesting part to Golden’s hires seems to be the young ages and ties they have to him. Both Williams and Franklin follow Golden from Temple, as well as D’Onofrio, who Golden played with while at Penn State from 1988-’91.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the leading candidate for the Hurricanes offensive coordinator position, as reported by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, is current Arizona Cardinals wide receiver coach Josh McNulty, who was a safety on the same Penn State team as D’Onofrio and Golden.

The current Miami staff also doesn’t employ a coach older than Stoutland, at 48 years old. Richardson, Williams and Carroll are still in their 30’s.

Both Golden and Muschamp clearly have the directions of their coaching staffs together. Golden wants to head into his new position with people he trusts and coaches, who may not be household names right now, but ones he believes will become in the future. Muschamp is playing it safe at Florida, bringing in NFL experienced coaches and seniority, particularly with the Weis hire, which some have questioned.

Whether or not the staff moves pay off for the first year head men remains to be seen. In this day and age of college coaching, though, we may not get a chance to really see long term effects of any hires. Ask Rich Rodriguez all about it.

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