Skipper back to coach defense


Florida head football coach Jim McElwain talks with reporters before he introduces his new coaches Corey Bell, who will coach defensive backs, Brad Davis, who will coach the offensive line and JaJuan Seider, who will coach running backs, held in the press deck at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

[Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 11:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 11:27 p.m.

With Ja'Juan Seider taking over as the new running backs coach, the former running backs coach, Tim Skipper, has switched to the other side of the ball and will coach the Florida linebackers.

UF coach Jim McElwain said it should be a seamless transition for Skipper.

"Yeah, Skip's one of those guys, jack of all trades,” McElwain said. “Obviously when I was first with Skip he was our running backs coach when I was at Fresno (State). He's been a defensive coordinator, has been a linebacker coach for most of his time — obviously playing linebacker. A guy that can wear a lot of different hats and has.

“Yet his comfort area I think and I know is how he brings and what he brings to the linebackers. That was one of those things that Coach Shannon, one of the first things that he wanted to do, and I'm all for it and excited for Skip to get back over there where he's most comfortable."

Shannon coached the linebackers the past two seasons. Now that he's the defensive coordinator, he'll be coaching more than one position group.

"He'll coach both in the secondary and with the linebackers, but obviously the coordination from front to back is something that it starts with,” McElwain said. “So, like Coach (Geoff) Collins, he'll kind of be in that same role."

Recruiting boost

During his search to fill the three vacancies on his staff, one thing McElwain had in mind was finding coaches/personalities who could possibly provide a boost for recruiting.

Seider and new secondary coach Corey Bell have strong connections in the state, especially in south Florida, and Seider was known as the most dynamic recruiter on the West Virginia staff.

McElwain said he'll know more once the Gators dive deep into recruiting this spring.

"Well, time will tell, but obviously the recruiting is a piece of it just as the coaching piece is,” McElwain said. “First and foremost, how do they associate and how do they affect the young men that they coach? What can they bring to the table from the Xs and Os piece? These guys all really come with great recommendations as coaches.

“And obviously they're comfortable in the areas that they need to recruit where they can be productive to keep moving our recruiting stuff forward. They're all guys for the right fit, and the right fit for them was the Gators."

Cavity-free coach

New offensive line coach Brad Davis was in a little bit of an awkward position when McElwain called him about the job two weeks ago — reclining in a dentist's chair.

“I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist's office,” he said. “After signing day, that's typically when coaches have a chance to actually take care of their personal hygiene, perhaps get a physical, check your cholesterol, look at all the weight you've put on during recruiting and that kind of stuff. I was getting my teeth cleaned and I'm very fortunate my dentist was very understanding.”

Davis said he's been cavity free since the fourth grade.

Bell and his buddies

In taking the secondary job, Bell has reconnected with two friends — Shannon and defensive line coach Chris Rumph.

Bell played football with Rumph at South Carolina and he served as Shannon's director of football operations at the University of Miami from 2007-10.

“We've been friends for a very long time and I worked for him,” Bell said of Shannon. “Looking forward to getting back with him and working with him. I've been waiting on this opportunity for a while and it finally came. Very looking forward to it.”

Bell said he has remained close friends with Rumph, his former college teammate.

“Absolutely. It picks up where it left off. We were great friends then. We stayed in touch over the years and now we get the opportunity to actually work together,” Bell said. “We spent a lot of time laughing then and now we're on the other side of it where we get to laugh and be in the business together. It's a great situation for us."

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