CFB: Florida hires Dolphines assistant Edwards as defensive coordinator
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Now, Florida coach Urban Meyer might be able to begin his leave of absence.
Meyer spent the week interviewing and hiring assistants, trying to fill a staff that had four coaches leave for other jobs in the last month.
His latest hire, Miami Dolphins assistant coach George Edwards, should be the last one. Meyer hired Edwards on Friday to be the team’s defensive coordinator. He also promoted Chuck Heater to co-defensive coordinator. Together, they will help replace Charlie Strong.
Strong accepted the head coaching job at Louisville last month. Cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford and running backs coach Kenny Carter went with him. Receivers coach Billy Gonzales also left last month to become passing game coordinator at LSU.
Meyer replaced them with Zach Azzanni (receivers), Stan Drayton (running backs), D.J. Durkin (outside linebackers, special teams) and Edwards, who also will coach inside linebackers.
“George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” Meyer said in a statement. “He has proven himself at the highest level in the National Football League, but his roots started at the college level at Florida and in the SEC. He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.”
Edwards has 19 years of coaching experience, including the last 12 in the NFL.
A graduate assistant at Florida in 1991, he coached linebackers at Appalachian State (1992-95) and at Duke (1996) before becoming Georgia’s defensive line coach (1997). His NFL stops include Dallas (1998-2001), Washington (2002-03), Cleveland (2004) and Miami (2005-09).
Edwards is the second coach to leave the Dolphins this week. Fellow linebackers coach Jim Reid was named defensive coordinator and associate head coach at Virginia on Thursday.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff,” said Edwards, a Duke graduate who played for former Florida coach Steve Spurrier. “I started my career at the college level at Florida and I enjoy teaching and molding young men. I am looking forward to working with a great group of people at Florida and a great group of players.”
The Florida hires provide stability to a coaching staff that is still unsure if or when Meyer will return. Meyer announced last month that he is taking an indefinite leave of absence. He said he expects to be on the sideline before the start of the 2010 season, but has given no timetable for his return.