UF’s McElwain hires Geoff Collins to be new DC

Published on Tuesday, 12/16/14, at 4:25 p.m. Eastern.

Florida new head football coach Jim McElwain has made the first hire to his staff official by naming Geoff Collins his defensive coordinator. Collins recently held the same post at Mississippi St., which just finished the 2014 regular season with a 10-2 record.

There had been plenty of speculation that current Florida interim head coach D.J. Durkin, who was Will Muschamp’s DC the last three years, was a major candidate to retain the same post. However, Durkin appears headed elsewhere with recent reports indicating that North Carolina and Texas A&M are interested in his services.

According to a tweet from UF beat writer Thomas Goldkamp, Durkin will address his future with the media on Wednesday.

Collins worked with McElwain on Nick Saban’s staff for one season in 2007. From there, he went to UCF and worked under George O’Leary as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. Next, Collins went to FIU and was Mario Cristobal’s defensive coordinator for one season.

In 2011, Collins arrived in Starkville as co-defensive coordinator and LBs coach. He has been the sole DC the last two seasons. The Bulldogs ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense this year, allowing only 19.4 points per game.

Collins is leaving Starkville immediately for his new job in Gainesville. This seems to have drawn the ire of Dan Mullen, the former Florida OC who was not considered a candidate to replace Muschamp at UF. Mullen commented that Collins was “making a lateral move.”

Obviously, based on the results for Mississippi St. and Florida this year, Mullen’s remark can be considered debatable. But something tells me Collins is getting a handsome raise and nearly every other coach in America would prefer to hold the same coaching title at Florida in the Swamp over Mississippi St. at Scott Field.

Anyway…In other coaching news, former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has been named the new head coach at Youngstown St. Therefore, Pelini is off the radar as a potential DC at a high-profile program.

Pittsburgh¬†Wisconsin and Michigan remain the only two high-profile vacancies. (Pitt’s Paul Chryst is meeting with UW today and it has seemed a given for several days that this is a done deal, though it isn’t official.)

Since¬†Alabama knew Saban wasn’t going to the playoffs in 2006 with the Miami Dolphins, it could afford to wait for the end of the NFL regular season to make its bid for Saban. Well, the 49ers’ postseason chances ended with last week’s loss at Seattle, so Michigan has the same set of circumstances as it pertains to former quarterback Jim Harbaugh. With that said, my belief is that Harbaugh wants to stay in the NFL for his next gig.

Therefore, you are left with these potential candidates for the Wolverines: LSU’s Les Miles, Stanford’s David Shaw, Mississippi St.’s Mullen, UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr. and the unemployed Greg Schiano. Miles came out yesterday and said he isn’t going anywhere, but that’s standard coach speak for someone with a looming bowl game and no offer. I say ‘no offer’ because endless reports have made it clear that Michigan isn’t doing anything until Harbaugh definitively says ‘no’ to his alma mater.

Then again, Miles could be speaking with 100 percent honesty. After all, he’s already turned down his alma mater’s overtures multiple times because LSU is a better job than Michigan these days.

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