February 13, 2012

New offensive line coach hired

As the old saying goes, "Patience is a virtue." In the case of new Florida Gators offensive line coach Tim Davis, his year-long patience paid off.

Florida announced Monday that Davis will replace Frank Verducci on head coach Will Muschamp's coaching staff with Verducci leaving "to pursue other interests," according to a UF release.

Davis attempted unsuccessfully to join Muschamp's inaugural staff at Florida but was rebuffed when offensive coordinator Charlie Weis wanted to bring Verducci into the fold as the two had a prior relationship.

"It wasn't available then," Davis said Monday of the job. "I told [Muschamp], 'Well, I'm going to be persistent. I'm going to keep trying.' I always wanted to work and coach in the SEC, especially with guys I know and have coached with."

It will actually be Davis's second stint in the SEC considering he served as director of player personnel with Alabama in 2008. Davis and Muschamp previously worked together on head coach Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins staff in 2005 with the former serving as an assistant offensive line coach and the latter working as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

"He was a guy that brought energy and passion to the job every day," Muschamp said recalling his time with Davis in Miami. "He is going to bring toughness. I thought he did a great job with our offensive line [with the Dolphins]. Everywhere he has been and he's coached they have been able to run the football and create the play-actions of it, be able to spread the field, understand the protections and do what you've got to do to be able to keep the quarterback upright.

"You look at some of the guys he has worked for and you talk about Barry Alvarez, you talk about Nick Saban, you talk about Pete Carroll. You talk about those guys and what they have accomplished. He knows what it takes to be successful."

Davis, with 25 years of coaching experience mostly in the college ranks, is also familiar with Gators running backs coach Brian White and tight ends coach Derek Lewis having previously worked at Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"It was easy [to make the move] because of Will and Dan and Brian and D-Lew," he said. "You don't make a decision like this - leaving your home state and everybody you know - without having somebody you know. That's one of the things in coaching you can't do. You have to be able to connect yourself with the guys you work with."

After playing college football for Utah and spending a season each in the CFL and USFL, Davis served as a volunteer and student assistant for seven years between Utah, Wisconsin and Arizona. He then became offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Walla Walla Community College (1988) before joining the Iowa State staff at the latter position only.

Davis worked as an offensive line coach and tackles/tight ends coach at Utah from 1990-96, offensive line coach at USC from 2002-04 and offensive line coach/running game coordinator at Minnesota from 2009-10. He rejoined Utah's staff in 2011 but has since decided to move on to greener pastures.

"The SEC is the premiere conference in the country, and you get a chance to work with guys you've worked with who are very successful, very motivated, they want to be the best," Davis said. "You're working in a great environment and a great program like Florida. It's everything that you dream about."

He brings championship-level experience (three BCS bowl appearances and two national championships with USC) and NFL knowledge (with Miami from 2005-06) to Florida, two important factors Muschamp considers when hiring coaches. Perhaps most importantly, Davis's intensity will be a welcome addition to a Gators' staff that is being molded in Muschamp's image.

"I'm really fired up,'' he said of the opportunity. "You've got to bring some tempo to it, some personality to it. I like what I see and am ready to go."

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