Gonzales leaving causes stir


The craziness concerning Florida’s coaching staff took an even weirder turn Thursday night with the news that wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales would be leaving to take a job atLSU . Gonzales is one of the premier young receiver coaches in the country and he’s also one of the best recruiters in the game. He’s been instrumental in recruiting guys like PercyHarvin, Joe Haden, Jon Bostic and Andre Debose. This year, he’s been in charge of recruiting and helping to sign Matt Elam, Gerald Christian, Demar Dorsey, Quinton Dunbar, Jordan Haden, Cody Riggs and Solomon Patton. He was also one of the main men behind trying to sway uncommitted guys like receivers Chris Dunkley, Ivan McCartney, Robert Clark (West Virginia), Christian Green and defensive end Chris Martin.

Behind, Urban Meyer, he’s probably been Florida’s top recruiter. Now, Meyer will have to work even harder at keeping some commitments and trying to develop better relationships with uncommitted guys. As of Friday, I got word from a couple sources thatPahokee’s Dunkley was not happy about Gonzales leaving, but that things shouldn’t sour between him and Florida. Meyer is still the primary guy in charge of his recruitment.

Patton was very upset about Gonzales and didn’t have much to say about his decision when he first heard. After Meyer hired former Central Michigan receivers coach ZachAzzanni , I contacted Patton to see how he felt about the new hire. Patton hadn’t heard of him and was still a little confused about the whole situation, considering Gonzales had an in-home visit with him Monday night and said nothing about leaving. Patton said he’ll keep his commitment and that he’s meeting with safeties coach Chuck Heater next week.

“I’m disappointed,” Patton said. “I really want coach “G” to be my coach, but it’s cool.”

One guy not wanting to talk about Gonzales is Martin. The Aurora, Colo., Grandview prospect was visited earlier in the week by both Meyer and Gonzales and had a pretty good relationship with Gonzales. For the first time since I talked to him after the Florida State game he didn’t respond to one of my text messages (since he’s not doing phone interviews) when I asked about Gonzales and the impact it will have on his recruitment.

While losing Charlie Strong only weighed heavily on defensive recruiting, Gonzales affects all areas.

“A lot of guys wanted to come in due to the way (Gonzales) recruited them and the relationships he’s built,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. “He’s definitely a big part of this class, recruiting some pretty special athletes.

“He’s definitely a key cog in that recruiting picture and it will be interesting to watch out that affects things.”

Still, players aren’t going to Florida to just play for Gonzales. Meyer is the man with the plan and he’s just going to have to work a little harder and hope thatAzzanni, who Meyer stated in a release is an aggressive recruiter, can fill the big shoes left by Gonzales.

“It might seem like it’s an overwhelming task to have to jump in there and immediately build some relationships with these kids and immediately earn their trust,” Simmons said. “That’s what he’s going to have to do and he’s got a short period of time to do it. That’s key and there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to do that.

“Once (Azzanni) gets settled in, I think he’s someone that can make an impact on future classes, but at this point, the key is not to mess anything up with this class and build off of what Billy Gonzales was able to bring in.”G


  1. Not a great situation! I,m waiting to hear something about a change in the OC position! A change there would go a long way to ensuring a commitment to improved offense in 2010…. Without it, a commitment to mediocrity!

  2. Urban needs to lock in some talent at DC too alot of changes are about throught the SEC and other conferences. The sooner Urban gets a strong DC the better things will become for recruiting. Any ideas on DC candidates?

  3. The OC needs to stay the same, for now, to have some stability. Our offense wasn’t that great this year mostly due to not being able to fill the shoes of Louis & Percy. Not to mention the losses of Carl Moore & Andre Dubose right before the season began really hurt.

  4. Our passing game never was much of a threat this year. I don’t know if it was Tebow or the recievers, many who did not play much. Maybe a new receiver coach will improve the passing game. I am looking forward to Brantly and a fresh group of recievers next year.

  5. I agree about the OC position, I think the guy to call plays should be the QB coach and not the OL coach. The OL coach needs to be with the line when they come off the field making adjustments instead of thinking about what to call the next series. The QB coach usually does that as he is debriefing the QB on the headset.

  6. Meyers betta get a plan together because one thing about Florida’s Athletic programs. We love to win and win big and he better not think for one minute they won’t hand him his walking papers. This sort of makes you think about whether or not behind the scenes things were Kumba Ya as the media has hyped it up to be. We had some WR not want to come and I understand why. If coaches are going to let the quarter back do it all, as a WR, I would not come here either.

  7. People can say what they wanna say about Meyers being the man. And with all due respect, he has been a good coach but Edward Aschoff make no mistake about the fact that it is the other coaches who actually spends the one on one time with those athletes that assist Meyers in getting the job done. I.e. Charlie Strong is a great DC and his relationship speaks volume but many of the sports media commentators managed to not give him the due credit that he deserves. Talking to players in a more personal setting you really sense that.

  8. Hey Ed.. In your next blog.. Can you please shed some light on Justin Hunter.. And what our chances our of pulling him.. He seems to have come on late so I guess thats why nobody has really talked him up much.. But this would be much appreciated.. As always.. Go Gators..

  9. Any idea on why Gonzalez left in the first place? Wasn’t it just a horizontal move to the same position in a different place? Doesn’t he have too strong of a relationship with Meyer (10 years) to be recruiting strongly on day then get up and leave the next?