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Friday December 14, 2012 Muschamp's coaching staff continues to earn praise

One of Gators head coach Will Muschamp’s strengths is organization.

Long before he was hired at UF, Muschamp developed an organizational plan for when he became a head coach. He quickly put it to use when he took over the Gators.

D.J. Durkin

Photo: Gators assistant D.J. Durkin is considered one of the top assistants in the SEC.

Building a strong and cohesive coaching staff is part of that plan and based on the results in Year 2, Florida’s staff has earned recognition as one of the best in the country.

Two Gators assistants – defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and special teams/linebackers coach D.J. Durkin – are on writer Chris Low’s ‘Dandy Dozen’ of Southeastern Conference assistants.

Meanwhile, Durkin was recently named Special Teams Coach of the Year by

“Coach Durkin is the best in the country at what he does and our special-teams unit played a critical role in our success this year,’’ Muschamp said. “We can point to a play or plays in every game where they affected the outcome. From long field goals to blocking a kick, flipping the field, stopping returns or breaking a big return for us – they made all the plays this year.”

In addition to Durkin’s award, Quinn was one of five finalists for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was the winner.

Still, in his two seasons at Florida after 10 years as an NFL assistant, Quinn has quickly earned respect around the country and his name has surfaced recently as a future head coach.

As the coaching carousel spins fast this offseason, Muschamp has added another well-respected assistant in former Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips, who takes over as receivers coach/recruiting coordinator. Unlike last offseason when Muschamp had a pair of openings at offensive coordinator and offensive line – hiring Brent Pease and Tim Davis – he quickly hired Phillips and as of now looks to have his staff return intact.

However, Muschamp knows how the business works and part of that organization includes a notebook filled with potential candidates should one of his assistants leave for another job.

“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."

For a look at this year’s coaching carousel, click here for a complete list and analysis from

As for the Gators, Muschamp is confident that when there are changes on his staff, he can move quickly to hire a qualified coach like he did with Phillips.

“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,’’ Muschamp said recently. “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.”

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