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December 21, 2011
Wednesday Notebook: Defensive staff returning
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Dan Quinn is here to stay.
While Gators fans are busy asking Santa for Kerwin Bell to be brought in to take over for Charlie Weis, Quinn made sure they won't be overextending themselves by having to ask for another coordinator too.
Stability and continuity will not be an issue for the Gators defense in 2012, as the entire staff is set to return according to Florida's first-year coordinator Wednesday.
At his Gators Bowl practice media session, Quinn shot down the notion he would jump back into the NFL next season, saying "no doubt" his commitment is to Florida.
"Ready to rock," he said excitedly. "I plan on being here. I really do enjoy it. Part of reasoning for leaving the NFL was getting the opportunity at a place like this. I'm having a blast with these guys."
Quinn anticipates all three of his assistants - D.J. Durkin, Bryant Young and Travaris Robinson - to return, alleviating player concerns about another set of staff changes.
"It would be a really cool thing," Quinn said about having the same coaches for two straight seasons.
"I relate to that as a player on a new coaching staff, even if it's just one or two new people. So with so many returning players along with whole staff, I think that's a big thing for us."
Quinn's defense finished the regular season ranked ninth nationally in total defense, allowing under 300 yards per/game. Florida ranked second in the country - only behind Alabama - in third down defense, holding opponents to an astounding 27.54 percent conversion rate.
Quinn also spoke about building off this season's success, but commented how disappointed he was with the unit's lack of turnovers and sacks.
With just 12 takeaways, Florida was tied with Duke for 115th in the nation, while UF finished with Arkansas for sixth in the SEC in sacks (22.0).
"It's something that we emphasize hard," he said. "It's going to have to come from the practice reps first. It's been emphasized, so now we have to take it to a different spot or do different ways to recognize that. For us to have that kind of takeaways for the talent we have on defense and the style we can become is not acceptable. We recognize that and will move forward accordingly."
For Florida's Jan. 2 face-off with Ohio State, Quinn said bowl practices have concentrated on the Buckeye's running attack, using the extra reps as a pseudo-training camp for the players; a time to focus on fundamentals, technique and individual skill development.
"It was kind of like going back. Lets work against the offense," Quinn said.
"Kind of a cool thing to go through because we worked our skills hard against each other and I think that's some of the best work you can do. It has been more of a camp mentality. It's been a physical time during this bowl preparation."
Quinn named several players who have stood out during bowl preparation including Omar Hunter, Ronald Powell, Jaye Howard and Jon Bostic.