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The Florida Gators announced Friday that Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Teryl Austin has been hired to take over the defensive coordinator spot vacated by George Edwards.
What's that you say? Who is Teryl Austin? Don't worry, you're not alone.
His name popped up in the discussion seemingly out of nowhere. The 44-year-old interviewed for the position on Wednesday, and emerged as the leading candidate after Clemson co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison took his name out of consideration Thursday morning.
Austin is very much an unknown in SEC land.
He spent the last three years coaching defensive backs with the Arizona Cardinals, where his tenure included an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII. While with the Cardinals, he sent three DB's to the Pro Bowl – Adrian Wilson, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Antrel Rolle. Despite the star power, the Cardinals never ranked higher than 22nd in the NFL in passing defense during his three years there.
Prior to his time in the desert, he spent 2003-2006 at the same position with the Seattle Seahawks, where he appeared in Super Bowl XL. Passing defense wasn't the strength of any of those Seahawks teams either. They never ranked higher than 16th in the NFL during Austin's time in the Pacific Northwest.
Seems like a reach for the Gators.
It's no secret that Florida's options were limited. The George Edwards era lasted only 27 days, before he bolted to Buffalo, N.Y., to be Chan Gailey's defensive coordinator (why anyone would give Chan Gailey a job or want to live in Buffalo are both valid questions). But replacing him with a guy that hasn't coached in college in eight years and has never been a defensive coordinator at any level? Color me skeptical.
Austin does have connections to Florida interim head coach Steve Addazio. The two were on the same Syracuse staff from 1996-1998, where Austin was a defensive assistant. Could that be an indicator of Urban Meyer's true intentions? Who knows.
It's hard to figure out what's going on in Gainesville these days, and the hiring of Teryl Austin doesn't help matters. It's amazing that a team that has gone through so much upheaval this off-season managed to bring in one of the best recruiting classes of all time and is sure to be ranked in the pre-season top five in August.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BSallee_CFN
Off-Season Column Archive:
Florida Reaches For DC – February 12, 2009
Vols Go West For New DC – February 3, 2009
Early 2010 SEC Predictions – January 31, 2010
Chizik Doing It Right – January 21, 2010
Georgia's DC Debacle – January 12, 2010
SEC Bloggers: Do Over – January 8, 2010
Trouble In Baton Rouge – January 2, 2010
Meyer Calls A Reverse – December 27, 2009
Urban Meyer's SEC Legacy – December 26, 2009
End Of The Season Accountability – December 26, 2009
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 18, 2009
2009 SEC Superlatives – December 13, 2009
Click here for the 2009 Regular Season Three & Out archive