GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida offense is entering its second year in Doug Nussmeier’s system with a quarterback and several returning players who know the playbook extensively.
But the Gators could have been starting from scratch this spring.
The UF offensive coordinator was a strong candidate for the head coaching job at Southern Miss and interviewed with the school in late January. After a few days of consideration, Nussmeier chose to stay at UF.
He discussed that decision for the first time Friday.
“Well, this is a special place,” Nussmeier said of Florida. “My family and I feel very blessed and fortunate to be here. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t feel fortunate to be a part of such a great program with great tradition. It’s an honor to walk out here every day and be the offensive coordinator.
“You know, Southern Miss was an opportunity that presented itself. I just felt so good about what we were starting to develop here. We’re still a ways away, but felt really good about our situation here and the things we’re going to be able to accomplish over time.”
Nussmeier had the Gators clicking offensively in 2015 until he lost starting quarterback Will Grier to suspension halfway through the season. With a new group of quarterbacks and more depth at the skill positions and along the offensive line, Nussmeier is confident his unit can have more success this year.
He also gets to continuing working with UF coach Jim McElwain. The two have been close friends for more than a decade and previously coaching together at Michigan State from 2003-05.
Both have a history with Luke Del Rio, currently the leading candidate to be Florida’s starting quarterback. McElwain offered Del Rio as a high school recruit and had him in his summer camp, while Nussmeier has known the Del Rio family since his NFL playing days and accepted Luke as a preferred walk-on in 2013 when he was the OC at Alabama.
Nussmeier hasn’t ragged on McElwain about beating him out for Del Rio.
“You never poke fun at the head coach, OK,” Nussmeier said with a grin. “That’s an unwritten rule of coaching, right?”