The Florida Gators were unexpectedly in search of a new assistant coach this spring following the sudden resignation of assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young. Will Muschamp wasted little time filling out his staff, naming Jeff Choate on Wednesday to the position of special-teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach. What will the new Gators’ coach bring to Florida in 2013?
Plenty of experience, for one thing. Choate has been coaching for 21 years, with 10 years of experience coaching either linebackers or special teams. Last season, he was the linebackers coach for the Washington State Cougars before being hired as the defensive coordinator of the UTEP Miners this spring. He wasn’t in the position for long, though, as Muschamp came calling after his old acquiatance.
Choate and Muschamp first met back when the Gators’ head coach was the defensive coordinator for the Texas Longhorns and Choate was on staff with the Boise State Broncos. Choate came to Austin to talk defensive and special teams schemes with the Longhorns’ staff and the two found they were on the same page philosophically. They renewed their professional relationship again last spring when Choate came to Gainesville to once again compare notes.
Muschamp sought out Choate for the job to replace D.J. Durkin‘s old position now that Durkin has moved up to defensive coordinator to replace Dan Quinn who left to become the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. Brad Lawing had been hired in January to coach the defensive ends while Bryant handled the defensive tackles, so it made more sense to Muschamp to add Choate as a special teams/linebackers coach and just expand Lawing’s responsibilities to the entire defensive line.
Choate brings a reputation as a high-energy coach with a strong ability to recruit and evaluate talent as well as being one of the better special-teams coaches in the country. His defensive vision falls right in line with what Muschamp wants to accomplish with his defense, so Choate should make a fine addition to the staff in 2013 and beyond.