GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Randy Shannon will serve as Florida’s interim defensive coordinator for the Outback Bowl, and could keep the job on a full-time basis.
The Gators linebacker coach will call plays on Jan. 2 against Iowa, UF coach Jim McElwain announced Monday. Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins was hired as Temple’s coach last week and won’t be with the Gators for the bowl game.
“Randy Shannon will take over the defense,” McElwain said. “He’ll be calling the game.”
Shannon also will assume Collins’ role as the safeties coach this month. Quality control assistant Mark DeBastiani will work with the linebackers in place of Shannon.
“He’s been a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for more than 10 years in I-AA football; been coaching for over 20,” McElwain said of DeBastiani. “We’re really fortunate to have coaches like that in support roles so we’re not missing a beat with that group.”
McElwain reiterated Monday that Shannon is “absolutely” in the mix for the permanent position. He served as Miami’s defensive coordinator from 2001-06, helping the Hurricanes win a national championship and finishing with a top-10 defense five times.
McElwain is looking forward to seeing Shannon coordinate Florida’s unit after a few weeks of preparation.
“It will be fun and it will be different,” McElwain said. “Some guys’ roles will be a little bit different than they were on game day. We’ve done some simulation things already that try to help with communication and what different people are looking at.”
It remains to be seen whether Shannon becomes the full-time defensive coordinator, but regardless, McElwain has to make another hire on his staff because of Collins’ departure.
He outlined his criteria for the next assistant coach, as well as when to expect the addition.
“Continuity in what we’re doing is important and a couple other factors as we kind of look at it and make sure we answer some recruiting needs that we have,” McElwain said. “I’m excited for (the defense). They’ve been doing a good job with what we’ve been doing, and obviously Randy is more than qualified for that position.”
“We’re not going to make any full-time decisions on that until after the bowl games out of respect for coaches and people who are coaching in other programs. I just don’t think it’s right this time of year. Let them focus on that and then we’ll move forward afterward. There is no time frame. Obviously want to have it done before we get back on the road recruiting after the first of the year.”
McElwain said Collins was back in Gainesville on Monday to address the team after practice.
“We were able to get Coach Collins here to say hello to the guys,” McElwain said. “It was good to have him here and we’re sure proud of him. I know he’ll do great things there. He even brought back some Philly cheesesteaks to share with the staff. The stuff was really good, man.”
— Jeremiah Moon (@jmoon50) December 19, 2016