Notebook: UF announces tight ends coach

Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.

The initial reaction to the newest (and final) addition to Will Muschamp's coaching staff might be something like this: Who is Derek Lewis?

But, guess what Gator fans? You already know and love him.

He is the Texas tight end who caught the winning touchdown pass against No. 1 Nebraska in the Big 12 title game in 1996 that sent Florida to the national championship game against Florida State.

Lewis was named UF's new tight ends coach by Muschamp on Wednesday, filling the opening left by the departure of Stan Drayton. Brian White, retained from Urban Meyer's staff to continue coaching tight ends and fullbacks, was shifted to running backs coach.

Lewis comes to Florida from Minnesota, where he coached tight ends the past four seasons.

"Many Gators will be familiar with Derek," Muschamp said. "He was the tight end that beat Nebraska in the 1996 Big 12 Championship Game. So, he's helped the Gators before, and we're looking forward to him helping us again.

"He's very charismatic, worked for Mack Brown (at Texas) as a graduate assistant when he finished playing for three years with the St. Louis Rams when he won a Super Bowl ring.

"He's a very passionate, charismatic guy about his job. He recruited the state of Florida, which is a criteria I was looking for, and a guy I feel like, as far as his expertise in his area, is very good."

White is moving back to his area of expertise. He coached running backs at UNLV and Wisconsin, where he mentored Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Ron Dayne.

"He will be influential in the running game with (offensive coordinator) Charlie Weis as far as things we want to do," Muschamp said. "That's a pretty good pedigree for the things he's done in the running back position."

White also will coach UF's fullback/tight end position.

No position changes yet

Although there have been reports that quarterback/fullback/tight end/slot receiver Trey Burton is moving to safety this spring, Muschamp said Wednesday that he and his coaching staff have not made any position changes yet.

"We're working through the process as far as positions and all," he said. "As far as position changes right now, I haven't decided.

"Trey was a guy that's been talked about as a defensive back, but I'm not so sure he's not better suited to be on the offensive side of the ball as a fullback, and still have some sort of package for him at the quarterback position."

Muschamp also said a decision has not been made as to where tight end/quarterback Jordan Reed will play in the offense.

"Jordan is a guy we're still working through the process with him right now of where he'll end up," he said. "He's an outstanding athlete. He'll be an integral part of what we do offensively, I can tell you that."

Durkin highly recommended

D.J. Durkin was one of three coaches Muschamp retained from Meyer's staff. Muschamp said he quickly secured Durkin after getting feedback from some other head coaches he knows.

"I have two guys that I really respect in this profession that both called me and said, 'If you don't retain him, I'm going to hire him,' " Muschamp said. "That was a good motivating factor."

Muschamp said he already knew about Durkin.

"I recruited against D.J. He actually beat me on a kid in Atlanta," Muschamp said. "I knew about D.J. back then. You don't forget those things. So, I knew he was a good recruiter. He's very thorough in his job and what he does. There was kind of a buzz nationally about what a job he did with the special teams (at Stanford). Then watching him with the Florida players (during early bowl practices), I thought he was a very good fit."

Percy, Carlos back in UF weight room

Muschamp said the best endorsement for strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti is the fact rising NFL stars (and former Gators) Percy Harvin and Carlos Dunlap have returned to Gainesville this offseason to work out under him.

"Here are two professional athletes that could be working out anywhere in the country, and they're working out with Mickey," Muschamp said. "That says an awful lot about his reputation and what he can do with athletes."

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