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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Gators hire new offensive line coach to replace Verducci

Florida parted ways with offensive line coach Frank Verducci to make room for one of coach Will Muschamp’s former colleagues Monday.

The team announced Muschamp hired former Utah offensive line coach Tim Davis to replace Verducci, who has decided to “pursue other interests,” according to Muschamp.

Davis has coached for more than 25 years and brings 18 years of experience as an offensive line coach in Division I football and the NFL to Florida, where the Gators’ line struggled during Muschamp’s inaugural season.

“Tim is a perfect fit for our program — he has a history of coaching in a pro-style offense and shares the same program philosophies,” Muschamp said in a press release.

“It will be a seamless transition for our players and staff. … He understands the values that we put on the line of scrimmage, and he will help us get where we want to be at that position.”

Davis worked with Muschamp in 2005 with the Miami Dolphins and has also worked with running backs coach Brian White, tight ends coach Derek Lewis and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

He said his experience with Muschamp and other members of UF’s staff will be a benefit, especially in the early going.

“I’ve been on a number of coaching staffs and usually there is a transition period when you join a new staff,” Davis said. “I don’t look at this as joining a new staff.”

The personnel change comes less than two weeks after Muschamp stressed the importance of the Gators improving along both lines of scrimmage during a press conference on National Signing Day.

As the Gators limped to a 7-6 record last season, the offensive line was largely overpowered in the team’s six losses. Florida tied for 54th in the nation by allowing 23 sacks, with 20 coming during defeats.

The offensive line also struggled in the run game, as the team finished with the nation’s No. 73 rushing offense (143 yards per game).

While the unit was able to open holes against inferior opponents, the Gators averaged just 61.8 yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry in their six losses.

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Davis’ line at Utah last season touted worse stats than Florida’s group — the Utes ranking 95th nationally with 33 sacks allowed and finishing with the 80th-ranked rushing offense (137.6 yards per game).

But Davis has been a part of two national championship teams and has coached 11 players who have gone on to play in the NFL.

“I’m excited to work with Coach Muschamp again and join the Florida football program,” Davis said. “I understand the shared philosophies of the staff and look forward to being part of The Gator Nation.”

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