As had been expected for a few days, UF defensive line coach Dan McCarney (pictured back in the 90s) left Tuesday to take over as the head coach at North Texas, and while he tries to rebuild a program that hasn't won more than three games in a season since 2004, whoever succeeds him at Florida has his work cut out for him.
The Gators will lose five defensive linemen to graduation: DEs Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens, and DTs Terron Sanders, Lawrence Marsh and Brandon Antwine. None of these five were world-beaters, but they all had their moments and the crop behind them is pretty short on experience.
Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard will be back inside (though there are rumors Howard is going to take a look at the NFL Draft). Beyond them, it'll be freshmen Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley, the top two DTs in the 2010 recruiting class. A lot of potential there, and Floyd looked good at times this season, but Easley struggled with an apparent attitude problem, and losing a solid DL coach probably won't help the situation.
The end spot is also pretty worrisome. Ronald Powell, the top DE recruit last year, is almost sure to be a freak, and he'll have Lerentee McCray, William Green and Earl Okine as his likely competition. Miami native and 6-foot-7 giant Lynden Trail could play too, depending on his offseason.
But the Gators are looking a bit rough on the d-line for next year, and they need to replace McCarney with another slam-dunk hire. McCarney is the eighth assistant to take a head-coaching job after leaving Urban Meyer's side, and he's the exact kind of person Meyer needs around. McCarney was Iowa State's head coach for 12 seasons, and with guys like him, Charlie Strong, Dan Mullen and Chuck Heater around in years past, Meyer basically had a staff of head coaches to make his life easier (and help keep that stress level down).
“I’m happy for coach McCarney and his family,” Meyer said. “He has a proven track record as a head coach, and we were fortunate to have him on our staff for the last three years. He did a great job with our defensive line, and I fully expect him to be successful at North Texas.”
McCarney leaving punches a big hole in Meyer's entourage, and he won't be easy to replace.
And this sucks for reporters too. McCarney was great with the media. He was honest, he was a good quote, and he oozed competence. So everyone loses here except for North Texas. This has already made an impact in recruiting, as four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan pulled out of his verbal commitment to UF.
How worried are you about the defensive line next season? Think McCarney will be easy to replace?