Florida had a meet-and-greet with the three new assistant coaches (D.J. Durkin, Stan Drayton and Teryl Austin) on Wednesday, making them available to a small gathering of the media.
All three said Urban Meyer’s health situation was not an issue in their decision to take jobs at Florida. They all seem confident that Meyer will do what he has to do to return.
In the meantime, they all praised the job interim coach Steve Addazio has done running the program in Meyer’s absence.
“I couldn’t have more confidence in (Addazio),” Durkin said. “That guy has done, and is doing, a phenomenal job running the program and in recruiting and all those things. There was no hesitation for me (because of Meyer’s health). It was not a wink-wink deal with Coach Meyer. It is what it is. He said, ‘Do you want to do it (come to UF)?’ I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ ”
The three new assistants all have a connection to Meyer and/or Addazio.
Durkin was a graduate assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green during Meyer’s two seasons there. Drayton was Meyer’s running backs coach at Florida in his first three seasons (2005-07). And Austin worked with Addazio for two seasons at Syracuse, where the two became close friends.
Due to all the connections, the coaches predicted this would be a smooth transition, and the chemistry on this new staff will develop quickly.
“After being here about a month now, it’s impressive the way the staff works together,” Durkin said. “I think Coach Meyer and Coach Addazio did a great job of getting the right fit and meshing things together. I think it will work really well.”
One note about the hiring of Austin last week: Addazio did all the leg work (making calls and setting up interviews for the defensive coordinator’s position), but Meyer was part of the interview process and it was Meyer who made the hire.