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After time in NFL, Quinn making impact at UF

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Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012 12:41 am | Updated: 12:54 am, Fri Nov 9, 2012.

Dan Quinn did the same thing for 10 years.

He spent nearly a quarter of his life coaching NFL defensive linemen.

After coaching three teams in eight seasons, Quinn landed in Seattle.

He was comfortable in the Emerald City.

Then, an old friend came calling.

When UF coach Will Muschamp needed a defensive coordinator in January 2011, he immediately thought of Quinn. The duo had previously worked together with the Miami Dolphins for one season, but Quinn wasn’t so sure he wanted to make the jump.

"There was (hesitation) on my end, because you have done one thing for 10 years, you’re kind of settled, and I certainly enjoyed where I was at," Quinn said. "I had a good time working with Pete Carroll and John Schneider, the GM, there. There was hesitancy not from coming back to college and coming here or working for Will, but I enjoyed what I was doing there, and I was happy. But, I thought the opportunity was too unique to pass up, and that’s why I wanted to come. And I’m glad that I did."

Florida is better because of it.

The Gators defense finished in the nation’s top 10 for three straight seasons before Quinn arrived in Gainesville, but this is a different team.

A more experienced unit that has decreased its total yards allowed per game each season since 2010.

The secret to Quinn’s success on the field may be what happens off it.

Senior safety Josh Evans described Quinn as a mentor.

After spending time at the coach’s house, linebacker Jelani Jenkins said Quinn is funnier than most people realize.

"He’s a great person and a guy that, he and (his wife) Stacy, they’re wonderful people," Muschamp said. "He’s about all the right things in college athletics."

The two coaches didn’t need long to adjust after they started working at Florida.

Together in Miami, the duo helped the Dolphins reel off six straight victories to finish 9-7 in 2005.

"He’s high energy and a lot of fun to play for," former Miami defensive end Jason Taylor said of Quinn. "I can guarantee no one is more prepared than Dan. He’s certainly one of the best position coaches I ever played for, and I’m not surprised at all by the success he’s having at Florida."

Quinn called Muschamp one of the best defensive coaches he’s been around at any level.

"We all had colleagues ... you just feel like it’s easy to talk to or get connected with," Quinn said. "That’s certainly how it is with Will."

Quinn’s play calling has the Gators ranked No. 5 nationally in total defense and tied for sixth in interceptions.

On the first play from scrimmage against South Carolina on Oct. 20, Quinn dialed up a cornerback blitz.

Loucheiz Purifoy came off the edge and forced South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw to fumble.

Florida generated four turnovers in a 33-point blowout in The Swamp.

The Gators love playing for Quinn because his defense readies them for the NFL.

"It’s really going to prepare not just me, but everybody who has aspirations at the next level," Jenkins said. "We rally behind him. We play for him."

There’s no looking back for the former NFL assistant. He’s found a new home in Gainesville.

Contact Adam Pincus at apincus@alligator.org.

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