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Monday, November 26, 2012
Updated: November 27, 10:54 AM ET
Muschamp has a shopping list

By Michael DiRocco
GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has a list, tucked safely away in the desk in his office.

It's a directory of potential assistant coaches. At some point he's going to need to fill a spot on his staff, and he's making sure he's prepared when that does happen.

And it will happen, especially now that the Gators are again competing for national titles. It might not happen this season, and maybe not after the 2013 season either, but Muschamp is going to eventually need that list.

But that's a good thing, Muschamp said, because having coaches leave for better jobs is a sign that the Florida program is in good shape. Schools raid staffs of good teams to find coordinators and head coaches. They don't go after coaches on 7-6 teams.

Will Muschamp, Brent Pease
Florida coach Will Muschamp might not lose offensive coordinator Brent Pease (right) this offseason, but Muschamp views losing assistant coaches as inevitable, and a sign of a healthy program.
"I always tell our staff this: 'If you have an opportunity for a promotion, if you're a position coach and you can go be a coordinator, if you're a coordinator and you can go be a head coach, I'll support you 1,000 percent,' " Muschamp said. "That says what kind of job we're doing here at Florida."

There is one current opening on the staff. Muschamp said Monday that he will not retain graduate assistant Bush Hamdan as the receivers coach. Hamdan worked with the receivers this season after Aubrey Hill resigned suddenly just before practice began, but Muschamp met with Hamdan on Sunday and told him he was going to hire a more experienced coach.

Muschamp said he doesn't anticipate any other staff changes after the season. But it won't be long before his top three assistants -- offensive coordinator Brent Pease, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and linebackers coach/special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin -- are being pursued by other programs.

Pease was already linked to the Kentucky job in the days after Joker Phillips was fired. Pease has ties to the program (he was the Wildcats' offensive coordinator from 2001-02) but it doesn't appear that he's a candidate for the position. Pease admitted that he would at least speak with Kentucky -- or any other program -- that contacted him about a head coaching job.

"You always visit with people," Pease said. "That [becoming a head coach] is what we're in the profession for."

It doesn't appear that Pease is going anywhere this offseason, though. The Gators' offense has not exactly been explosive -- UF is ranked 101st nationally in total offense (338.0 yards per game) -- and he said last week that he "didn't expect this thing to be a work of perfection, or I would have come here for one year and left. That is not my intention."

Quinn, who Monday was named a finalist for the Broyles Award (given annually to the nation's top assistant coach), turned down the chance to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator after last season. He has spoken often about how much he's enjoying coaching in college after spending 10 years in the NFL because he's able to help players grow and develop, especially young players such as DEs Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard.

It isn't likely he leaves for another coordinator's job at the college level, but the chance to be a college head coach or a coordinator in the NFL might intrigue him. He's happy in Gainesville, though.

"I really enjoy it here and enjoy working for Will," Quinn said. "Basically, it's a good place. You can get good players here. We can win here. Part of the reason I decided to come here was one, I wanted to work with Will; but two, I thought if it was going to be in a college setting I'd want to do it where you could really have a chance to win. And certainly this place you can do that."

Durkin's situation is interesting. He's done a good job as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach and is one of the better recruiters on staff. The next step for him is to become a defensive coordinator, which wouldn't happen at UF unless Quinn were to leave.

The challenge for Muschamp will be to replace anyone who leaves with someone who turns out to be as good -- or better. It's not an easy task even though coaching at UF is an attractive job, and former coach Urban Meyer found that out when his staff was raided several times.

He lost four assistants to head coaching jobs, had another leave because he wasn't promoted to offensive coordinator, and had another leave for a coordinator's job in the NFL. Meyer wasn't able to fill all those spots with the same caliber of coaches, and that was part of the reason the program dipped during his final season.

That's something Muschamp is going to have to battle soon, and probably for as long as he's at Florida.

"This is a great place to work and we've got a good, young football team and we're going to be good for a long time," he said. "... We'll go find a good coach. There's a bunch of people that want to coach here. There's a long list at my desk."