Certain things have been beaten to death among Gator fans. Addazio’s suckage, Meyer leaving, Addazio sucks, Meyer’s a crybaby, no he’s not, Muschamp and Weis coming aboard, try to stop our offense, try to score on us.
One thing that has gone unnoticed is the arrival of Dan Quinn, our defensive coordinator. Obviously, with a defensive minded coach like Will Muschamp, he’s not going to be the head of the defense. But he will be Muschamp’s second in command, which is a very important job- in anything, from sports to war to business.
So who is he?
He played defensive line for Salisbury State for three years from 1990-1993, and right away got a job as a DL coach at William & Mary. The following year, 1995, he accepted a job at VMI at the same position.
1996 was when both the Florida Gators and Quinn began to really get their names up there as new, hot things in college football. Quinn got the DL job at Hofstra and stayed there for 4 very good years. In his fifth year, 2000, he was named defensive coordinator.
He then decided to spend some time in the professional ranks, joining the San Francisco 49ers at various positions, including DL, LB and DC. During his time there, San Francisco’s defense slowly improved. The most memorable moment for Quinn came when the 49ers were getting manhandled by the New York Giants by 24 in the playoffs, and the 49ers defense suddenly buckled down and harrassed Giants QB Kerry Collins the rest of the day. The Giants’ offense sputtered and San Fran came all the way back to win on a strange penalty on a field goal as time expired.
As a Giants fan, I was pissed. I was 8 years old then, and in my first year of really following the intricacies of the game. But it was easy to tell that the Giants couldn’t do a thing because the 49ers defensive line was walking through gaps as easily as if they were walking through their own front door. And Quinn coached that unit.
After the 2004 season, Quinn left to become a member of Nick Saban’s crew at Miami. He didn’t do badly, but his whole time there was marred by Saban’s unhappiness, so it’s not that easy to judge him by that.
In 2007, Quinn took the same DL coach job with the Jets. Again, he didn’t do badly, but the Jets were abysmal as a team his two years there, so you cannot take much from his time there either. Nobody remembers a defensive line that finished 13th in sacks when the team was 4-12. 2008 wasn’t a whole lot better, either.
Then Quinn took the job with the Seahawks in 2009 when Rex Ryan did not retain him. He had two above average years, where his defense had a habit of forcing big fumbles. Most notably, he harrassed Drew Brees in the playoffs this past season and the Seahawks shocked everybody by beating New Orleans in the opening round.
So, overall, a good, but not great resume.
So why did Muschamp take him?
Two reasons: he worked under Saban and he harps on forcing turnovers.
A friend of Saban’s is a friend of Muschamp’s, and that’s just fine and dandy with me. As much as I dislike Saban, I have to admire him. And now, I’m thankful for him and his coaching tree.
Obviously, Quinn working in the pro ranks helped him, as Muschamp wanted a guy who worked in both college and pro. I think the reason for that is that these guys are used to really pushing grown men to their limits, they can certainly do it to college kids. But I cannot speak for Muschamp.
What I can say is that Quinn is likely going to be here awhile. Muschamp can train him and polish him, but this isn’t Kirby Smart. He isn’t a year or two away from filling his resume for a head coaching job. He’s had a good resume, but how many other coaches do too? Good isn’t enough for a head coaching job. And there isn’t anywhere better to go than Florida. There are places AS good- Alabama, Ohio State, USC, LSU, etc.- but those are all lateral moves. And coaches don’t like lateral moves.
So- good hire, coach Muschamp. Time will tell if it’s a great one.