In a recent article by the Memphis Commercial Appeal it is pointed out that Florida Gators' assistant coaches Charlie Weis and Dan Quinn are part of the growing trend of NFL coaches that are heading back or entering collegiate coaching for the first time.
There are plenty of reasons for such a move, the lockout for example, new challenges, rising college salaries, and maybe even a family issue or two. As the article points out, the Gators aren't alone. Ole Miss (offensive coordinator), LSU (special teams coordinator), Miami and Oklahoma State are among the other schools who have pried away "NFL guys" and added them to their respective coaching staffs.
The one major issue I have with this is that what if they decide rather quickly that college isn't for them? Would that change their passion for coaching for the year and affect their job performance? At this point it is way too early to tell, but I (along with plenty of other people) have doubts.
Will Muschamp during the course of the article makes it clear that at least the guys he has selected to be part of the Florida Gators coaching staff aren't just NFL guys and have at least some background in the college game. To an extent he is right, but for some (such as defensive line coach Dan Quinn) they haven't coached in college for more than a decade.
"I really like this age group," Weis, 55, said. "I've got a kid who is going to be a freshman in college. I think I've been around this age group for quite some time. I think I get it. I really like recruiting, and I think that the one thing you need to understand is an 18-year-old kid is not the same as a 22- or 23-year-old walking out the door. As any parent would know, probably the No. 1 thing that happens when your kid goes to college is they grow up. An 18-year-old kid is not like a rookie in the NFL."
I really hope that for the sake of the Florida Gators that Weis is a whole heck of a lot more confident than he appears in that comment. Words like "think" and "hope" (I realize that "hope" doesn't appear, but just for arguments sake in making the point, I hope you'll allow it) don't really generate a lot of positive vibes from the fan-base. Charlie Weis was the head coach of a major college program for five years and it appears as if he isn't quite sure if he has been around the age group of college football players for all much time.
It isn't the recruiting (Weis' average recruiting class at Notre Dame was 15.8 according to Rivals) or his ability to coach an offense that is the worry that some have with Weis. So it isn't like he can't connect with young kids. Three of those classes were Top 10 and another one was Top 2. It is his ability to coexist with Will Muschamp. Personally, I think he can and will do a fine job as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Maybe I am misunderstanding the tone of the article and am way off-base here. I hope that is the case. I've said it before that I like this staff (with an exception or two) and I think they'll be able to get the job done and take the Gators back into the Top 10 and then some.
Just some food for thought on yet another day in the off-season.