No. 20 Florida promotes Shannon to defensive coordinator
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) No. 20 Florida is sticking with Randy Shannon as its defensive play-caller.
Shannon was promoted to defensive coordinator Friday, assuming the role he held for the Gators' 30-3 victory against 21st-ranked Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
Shannon previously coached linebackers the last two seasons in Gainesville. He also served as associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator, although Geoff Collins called plays. Temple hired Collins as its head coach last month.
''Coach Shannon has been a big part of our success over the last two years,'' coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. ''It's been really cool to watch him handle his business. He really connects with our players, and they have a lot of respect for him.
''More than being a great coach, he is a great mentor and teacher to these young men and that is one of our greatest measuring sticks as coaches.''
This will be Shannon's third stint as a defensive coordinator. His held the title in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (1998-99) and on the college level at his alma mater, Miami (2001-06). He then served as the Hurricanes' head coach (2007-10).
Since Shannon and Collins arrived two years ago, Florida won consecutive Southeastern Conference Eastern Division titles thanks mostly to top-10 defenses.
The Gators ranked seventh in the country in 2015. They currently sits fifth and second in the Southeastern Conference, allowing just 293 yards a game and a league-low 148.5 yards passing.
But Shannon will be tasked with conducting a significant rebuild on that side of the ball.
Florida is losing linebacker Jarrad Davis, safety Marcus Maye, defensive end Bryan Cox and defensive tackle Joey Ivie to graduation. Cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson as well as linebacker Alex Anzalone and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley announced this week they are leaving school early and entering the NFL draft.
''We will continue to work together as we have the past two years to put together a plan so our players are in a position to be successful in football and in life,'' Shannon said.
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25