It was clear that the Florida Gators’ secondary was terrible in 2020. They had no identity and no player that offenses had to worry about. Many people believed that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was to blame, but head coach Dan Mullen felt it was the secondary coaches instead.
Mullen fired safeties coach Ron English and cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray after the lackluster season.
This move was an interesting one, mainly because COVID-19 complicated things, and maybe it wasn’t the coach’s fault. Perhaps it was not being able to do as much as you could in the past.
Well, that was one of my thoughts. However, I think Florida made it loud and clear that it wasn’t because of COVID-19, but instead, the coaches themselves were the issue. Why do I believe this?
Florida released Season 2, Episode 1 of This Is… The Swamp. I highly recommend watching it, as it is a great inside view of Florida. True freshman Donovan McMillon was featured on it, and it showed some glimpses of Mullen’s elite coaching ability.
My biggest takeaway from Episode 1 was that Florida wanted fans to know their secondary is in better hands in 2021.
The episode featured new safeties coach Wesley “Crime Dawg” McGriff and new cornerbacks coach Jules Montinar. It really showcased how amazing these coaches are, and hearing the players talk about them was fantastic. Dissecting the player’s words about the coaches was pretty interesting too.
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The kids spoke highly of their new coaches, but it almost made me feel like they were hinting at traits they did not feel their previous secondary coaches had.
Senior safety Trey Dean III said, “We didn’t skip a beat, you know, with coach Crime Dawg. It’s all been all love, all technique, just continuing to get better each and every day, no matter if it’s on the field or off the field.”
Sophomore safety Tre’Vez Johnson said, “As soon as he got here, he made his impact felt. I love his energy and what he brings to the table every day. He is out there competing, just like we is. He is here early. He’s leaving late. Just how we putting the time in, he is putting time into us. You can tell it is a different type of culture.”
Hmm… a different type of culture? Interesting choice of words, but clearly, McGriff’s impact is being felt early on.
Later on in the episode, junior cornerback Kaiir Elam spoke about the new cornerbacks coach, Montinar. Elam said, “Oh, he is definitely high energy, definitely high energy. And technique based, which I felt like I needed to improve my game.”
Elam added, “He has it very competitive in the room, so I like that a lot about coach Jules. And then again, that allows us to push the younger guys too, to get better each and every day.”
I got the vibe that Florida understood how this was going to look and sound, but they wanted it to be out there. It almost felt like a passive-aggressive shot at the old coaches, but it is what it is.
It was clear that changes were needed, and it seems that the additions of McGriff and Montinar are already proving to be upgrade for Florida.