GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators coach Will Muschamp has added a former colleague to his coaching staff, hiring veteran assistant Tim Davis as Florida’s new offensive line coach on Monday.
Davis and Muschamp spent a season together on the Miami Dolphins’ staff in 2005 and when Muschamp took over the Gators, Davis called to see about joining Muschamp’s inaugural UF staff.
“It wasn’t available then,’’ Davis said Monday. “I told him, ‘well, I’m going to be persistent. I’m going to keep trying.’ I always wanted to work and coach in the SEC, especially with guys I know and have coached with.”
Davis replaces Frank Verducci, who has left to pursue other interests.
The respect the 53-year-old Davis developed for his younger colleague seven years ago in Miami flowed both ways.
“He was a guy that brought energy and passion to the job every day,’’ Muschamp said. “He is going to bring toughness. I thought he did a great job with our offensive line [with the Dolphins]. Everywhere he has been and he’s coached they have been able to run the football and create the play-actions off it, be able to spread the field, understand the protections and do what you’ve got to do to be able to keep the quarterback upright.
“You look at some of the guys he has worked for and you talk about Barry Alvarez, you talk about Nick Saban, you talk about Pete Carroll. You talk about those guys and what they have accomplished. He knows what it takes to be successful.”
Davis was the offensive line coach at Utah last season and served as Minnesota’s offensive line/running game coordinator the previous two seasons where he worked with Gators tight ends coach Derek Lewis. Davis also has ties to Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from their two seasons together in Miami, and he worked alongside Gators running backs coach Brian White at Wisconsin.
Davis has spent nine of his 25 seasons as a coach working with current members of Florida’s staff, so he’ll arrive with ample familiarity.
“There is going to be a lot of continuity,’’ Muschamp said. “This guy brings juice. He does a great job of relating to people and he’s totally committed to being a Gator. That’s important to me.”
Despite returning to his alma mater last season and spending much of his career out West, Davis said there was no hesitation to move back to Florida and join the Gators’ staff.
“It was easy because of Will and Dan and Brian and D-Lew,’’ he said. “You don’t make a decision like this – leaving your home state and everybody you know – without having somebody you know. That’s one of the things in coaching you can’t do. You have to be able to connect yourself with the guys you work with.
“The SEC is the premiere conference in the country, and you get a chance to work with guys you’ve worked with who are very successful, very motivated, they want to be the best. You’re working in a great environment and a great program like Florida. It’s everything that you dream about.”
Davis has made two stops at Utah and worked at Alabama, USC, Idaho State, Arizona and Walla Walla Community College in his career. He was Alabama’s director of player personnel in 2008, helping build a roster for a program that has won two of the last three national titles.
During his three seasons as offensive line coach at USC from 2002-04, the Trojans went 36-3 and won a pair of national titles in ’03 and ’04, sharing the ’03 title with an LSU team that featured Muschamp as its defensive coordinator.
Davis is ready to get to work with an offensive line that he sees as athletic and full of promise with young players. Like Muschamp, Davis said much of his coaching philosophy is based on toughness and technique.
He wants to see the Gators get stronger and tougher up front to move defensive lines the way Wisconsin’s offensive line did for Badgers Heisman-winning running back Ron Dayne during his time on Alvarez’s staff with White.
“We had a lot of 4- and 5-yard runs that beat people down,’’ he said. “I really love that, taking the wind out of people’s sails and beating a team up in the fourth quarter running the ball. It is effective. My style is to hold the ball and keep our defense on the bench.”
Besides their common ground in football, Davis noticed Muschamp’s ability to relate to players, coaches and other non-football members of the Miami organization.
That played a part in his decision to come to Florida as much as the rest.
“He’s got to where he is by being a great competitor, No. 1, and a great recruiter and great football coach,’’ Davis said. “He’ll be in the SEC as long as he wants to be there. He has a personal note to his ability to deal with people. That’s a huge positive thing to have because he can reach out to athletes and alumni and coaches around him. That’s real rare.”
A native of Castro Valley, Calif., Davis played in the CFL and USFL prior to becoming a full-time coach. He is looking forward to the next chapter of his career in Gainesville and the reunion with his former colleagues.
“I’m really fired up,’’ he said. “You’ve got to bring some tempo to it, some personality to it. I like what I see and am ready to go.”