UF names assistant football coach


Jeff Choate, who was Washington State's linebackers coach last season, was working as the defensive coordinator at the University of Texas-El Paso before accepting the special teams coordinator job at Florida on Wednesday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.

When Florida coach Will Muschamp promoted D.J. Durkin from special teams coordinator/linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in January, the original plan was for the coaching staff to coach special teams by committee.

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Jeff Choate, who was Washington State's linebackers coach last season, was working as the defensive coordinator at the University of Texas-El Paso before accepting the special teams coordinator job at Florida on Wednesday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

That has changed.

Muschamp is now putting his special teams in the hands of a coach with extensive experience as a special teams coordinator at the collegiate level.

On Wednesday, Muschamp announced the hiring of veteran assistant Jeff Choate as the Gators special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

Choate, who coached linebackers at Washington State this past season, comes to UF from UTEP, where he was named the defensive coordinator this past winter. Before going to Washington State, Choate was a special teams coordinator for nine seasons at three different schools — Boise State (2005-11), Eastern Illinois (2003-04) and Utah State (2002).

“We are excited to have Jeff Choate join our staff,” Muschamp said. “He is a high-energy coach, an outstanding recruiter and evaluator, and has a reputation as one of the top special teams coaches in the nation. He has coached on both sides of the ball and was most recently a defensive coordinator. He sees the big picture and will be a great addition to our staff.

“I got to know Jeff several years ago when I was at Texas and he was at Boise State. He visited Austin and we spent a lot of time talking defensive and special teams schemes. He also visited us in Gainesville last spring, and we are very much on the same page philosophically.”

In 2009, Choate's special teams at Boise State were rated No. 1 in the nation by college football analyst Phil Steele. Those special teams featured Titus Young, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

Under Choate, Boise State ranked in the top 25 nationally in kickoff returns three times and in the top 25 in punt returns four times. The Broncos were rated as high as 12th in the FBS in kickoff return coverage in 2009, and 14th in punt return coverage in 2008.

“I'm excited about the opportunity to join the Gator staff and have the chance to compete at the highest level,”Choate said. “I've gotten to know coach Muschamp over the past couple of years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and a person. I'm looking forward to continuing the great special teams tradition that has been established here and can't wait to get to work.”

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