Notebook: UF to work off 4-3 defense, Quinn says

Published: Monday, March 14, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 14, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.

Friends since their stint with the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 2006, Dan Quinn and Will Muschamp have always clicked when it came to talking football.

So when Muschamp took over as Florida's coach in December, Quinn, who was the defensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks at the time, sensed Muschamp might try to lure him to Gainesville.

Quinn was right and during the Seahawks' playoff run he accepted the job as Florida's defensive coordinator.

"He was always somebody that I kept up with and kind of saw football in the same way, so when the opportunity came to come work with him it was really an easy one for me," Quinn said of Muschamp. "I thought the guy had all the right stuff about him as a coach."

Despite Muschamp's defensive knowledge, he will have Quinn calling the plays. Those plays will come out of a 4-3 base that will have "3-4 principals," Quinn said.

Quinn and Muschamp first toyed with running a more multiple defense in Miami. After offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey told them preparing for both a 4-3 and 3-4 were equally as difficult, they decided to incorporate both into their schemes.

With the personnel Florida has, Quinn feels he can do the same in Gainesville.

"The ability to have both is there," Quinn said.

To help incorporate both styles, Quinn said he will cross-train his linebackers and defensive ends and will have his defensive tackles cross-train at nose tackle.

While he spent 10 years in the NFL before arriving in town, Quinn said taking over as the defensive coordinator for a high-profile, SEC team is something he expects will draw a lot more scrutiny his way.

"I don't know if anything can prepare you for the (defensive) coordinator in the SEC without having done it," he said, "but my experience through the last 10 years certainly prepared me how to play in big games and be involved in that way."

Easley's new attitude

After spending his freshman season as more of an attitude problem, freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley appears to be changing his ways with Florida's new staff. Easley was told he could stay and change or leave. He chose to stay and change.

"I said you're going to do it our way," Muschamp said. "Change is inevitable, growth is optional. It's going to happen, so you either do it our way or you leave."

Injuries and limited players

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (shoulder), linebacker Neiron Ball (congenital syndrome), running back Jeff Demps (outdoor track season) and running back Mike Blakely (shoulder) will miss spring practice. Muschamp said Ball is still being treated and no decision on his football future has been made.

Limited players for the spring include Omar Hunter, Jaye Howard, Kedric Johnson, Jaylen Watkins, Matt Patchan, David Young and James Wilson.

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