The Florida Gators have promoted defensive analyst Garrick McGee to quarterbacks coach in the wake of former offensive coordinator and QBs coach Brian Johnson joining the Philadelphia Eagles, the program announced Friday.
The move comes as little shock, with rumblings of Florida’s intent to elevate McGee following Johnson’s departure by hours and reports of it coming on Thursday. And it makes plenty of sense: Despite holding a defensive analyst title for the last year, McGee has been an offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach for most of the last 15 years, with a two-year stretch as UAB’s head coach and time spent in Missouri as a Tigers analyst and wide receivers coach being the exceptions.
McGee’s signature accomplishment in a 25-year coaching career is unquestionably his role in the identification and development of Lamar Jackson into a future Heisman Trophy winner, but he was only part of Jackson’s recruitment and a promising but not award-winning freshman season with the Cardinals — after spending 2014 and 2015 in Louisville, he left the program to work as Lovie Smith’s offensive at Illinois.
That stint lasted just two years, and is in keeping with McGee never staying anywhere for long. His longest tenures at any school — time at Northwestern and at Arkansas — have only spanned four years each.
But McGee’s successes under Bobby Petrino at Arkansas and then Louisville got him better jobs, and now he may have a chance to do the same under Dan Mullen — which could, in turn, satisfy the Florida fans for whom an internal promotion to replace perhaps their most promising assistant is a letdown.
Notably, though, McGee was not granted Johnson’s offensive coordinator title — and, given that it’s no secret that Mullen handles most of Florida’s offense and is the Gators’ primary playcaller, that’s a reminder that Johnson, despite being by all accounts very bright and personable, had only so much impact on Florida during his tenure.
When Florida hired Dan Mullen, it was installing an offense that would mostly go as Mullen does, any number of offensive assistants under him be damned. The bet here: Swapping out Johnson for McGee is unlikely to meaningfully alter Florida’s future.