Muschamp excited about latest coaching hire


Newly hired Florida special teams' coordinator and outside linebackers coach Jeff Choate answers questions during a news conference on the UF campus Wednesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 9:37 p.m.

Florida coach Will Muschamp introduced his latest coaching hire at Wednesday's press conference — Jeff Choate, who will coordinate special teams and coach the outside linebackers.

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Newly hired Florida special teams' coordinator and outside linebackers coach Jeff Choate answers questions during a news conference on the UF campus Wednesday.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer

Muschamp and Choate said they anticipated a seamless transition even though he was not here for the spring.

“I've known Jeff. He's a guy that I've known probably going back six or seven years in recruiting the state of Texas,” Muschamp said. “He's an outstanding evaluator, really good recruiter, coached on both sides of the ball.

“Having worked with someone on our staff (Brent Pease), that certainly helps — and a guy I trust. I trust Brent's opinion. So, it's exciting to have a coach like this at this time of year.

“There's never a good time, but at this time of year, it's good to add a coach to your staff and improve your staff.”

Choate coached with Pease at Boise State for six seasons. In 2012, Choate coached the linebackers at Washington State. He was hired after the season to be the defensive coordinator at UTEP.

He went through the spring at UTEP, but then left when Muschamp offered him a job.

“It was a little bit out of the blue, but it was an opportunity that I could not say no to,” Choate said. “Having a chance to coach in the SEC and compete at the highest level, I think anybody that's a true competitor wants to challenge themselves against the very best.

“This was an opportunity for me to do that. As hard as it was to say no to the young men at UTEP and to (head coach) Sean (Kugler) in particular, this was an opportunity I could not say no to.”

Choate said coming onto the staff relatively late should not be a problem.

“If there's one situation where it would work out, ideally it would be this one,” he said. “D.J. (Durkin) and I are very similar in the way we approach special teams, and I had spent some time talking with him and studying some things Florida had done here. We exchanged ideas.

“It's me learning terminology and things. I don't think there will be a lot of technique or scheme that will be adjusted. Without a spring, I don't see there being wholesale changes. We'll tweak some things and have game-plan adjustments.

“But I think we've got to keep it as straightforward as we can in the short term.”

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