GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain said he’s happy to see defensive coordinator Geoff Collins get an opportunity to be a head coach at Temple, and he’s already had discussions about what the Gators will do with that spot.
Specifically, McElwain was asked if linebackers coach and co-coordinator Randy Shannon would be a candidate for that position.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of options and we’ve already discussed them here. Obviously this isn’t the first time Geoff’s name’s come up, Nuss’ name or Randy’s name or Coach Rumph’s name, Tim Skipper’s name. So we plan for all those scenarios.”
Shannon was the head coach at Miami from 2007-10 after previously serving as the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator.
McElwain didn’t offer any further specifics as to how he’ll go about filling that position, and he wasn’t ready to say who would coach the defense in Florida’s Outback Bowl game with Iowa on Jan. 2.
“Obviously it just kind of happened, and as a coach you prepare for these things no matter who it is,” he said. “You make plans for all your guys, should something happen, and we’ve got some things already in the works.”
Collins spent two seasons at Florida, during which the Gators’ defense ranked 8th nationally in total defense (310.2 yards per game allowed) and 11th in scoring defense (18.3 points per game) last season and 6th in total defense (298.6 YPG) and tied for 10th in scoring defense (17.9 PPG) this season.
Along with Collins’ departure, the Gators will have some significant holes to plug throughout their defense between departing seniors and juniors jumping to the draft.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis, safety Marcus Maye, defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. and nose tackle Joey Ivie are definitely gone. Junior cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson and junior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley are expected to declare for the NFL Draft as well. And redshirt junior linebacker Alex Anzalone and possibly nickel Duke Dawson may have decisions to make.
The first order of business for the Gators, though, will be naming a replacement for Collins, who is taking over at Temple after former Owls coach Matt Rhule accepted the Baylor job last week.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity for him and his family at Temple. It’s a place that’s really done a great job and he’ll carry that on,” McElwain said. “He’s a guy that’s meant a lot to us. As you guys know, (he was) one of the first guys that I hired, and yet he’s not the only one that’s been on our staff that’s been contacted. That’s kind of cool, people taking note as far as what we’re doing and how we’re going about it. So I’m really excited for him moving forward.”