Thursday, January 17, 2013
Gators' D.J. Durkin steps in for Dan Quinn
By Chris Low
One of the pitfalls in hiring a coach from the NFL is that he may look to return to football's highest level of competition.
Dan Quinn has done an excellent job at Florida the past two seasons, good enough that the Seattle Seahawks scooped him up Thursday to be their defensive coordinator. Quinn spent 10 seasons in the NFL before Florida coach Will Muschamp hired him away from the Seahawks following the 2010 season. Quinn was previously the defensive line coach with the Seahawks.
Not long after the Seahawks announced Quinn's hiring, Muschamp promoted D.J. Durkin to fill the Gators' defensive coordinator position. Durkin was the Gators' linebackers coach and special-teams coordinator the past three seasons and was initially hired at Florida under Urban Meyer.
Durkin will be the Gators' fourth different defensive coordinator in the past five years, and that kind of shuffling can be difficult for the players. But the fact that Muschamp would promote Durkin so quickly tells you a couple of things. For one, Muschamp obviously has a lot of faith in Durkin. Secondly, Muschamp didn't want to be stuck without a defensive coordinator with recruits finalizing their decisions leading up to national signing day. And probably most importantly, this is Muschamp's defense. At the end of the day, it's his show.
Now, the focus shifts to Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and whether or not he will also return to the NFL. There are reports that he's the top target to be the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator. Grantham spent 11 years in the NFL before coming to Georgia and was the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009.