Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharing of Duties Must Be Strong Suit; Only Holdover from Zook's Staff Will Coordinate Gators' Defense with Mattison

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharing of Duties Must Be Strong Suit; Only Holdover from Zook's Staff Will Coordinate Gators' Defense with Mattison

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE -- The question Florida coach Urban Meyer fielded the most during the offseason was whether quarterback Chris Leak would be able to run Meyer's spread offense.

Probably the second-most asked question was about the discipline problems the Gators have had in the past.

Ignored, though, was any question about how having co-defensive coordinators would work.

Certainly the players don't have any.

"Two minds are better than one," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. "That's a plus for us."

Especially, Mincey said, when those two minds belong to Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison. It's a balance of stability and a fresh approach.

"We've got someone who knows the players personally and can give input to coach Mattison and he can get to know us and gain trust as well," Mincey said.

Strong is the only holdover from coach Ron Zook's staff, and a determining factor in his decision to join Meyer's staff was the hiring of Mattison. The two worked together at Notre Dame in 1997-98.

"That's what I based my decision [to stay] on," Strong said. "I was going to leave and I'm sitting there saying, I know Greg Mattison, the two of us have worked together before, so there's no egos involved."

That previous relationship has made sharing coordinator duties easier. Both will be on the field during games, and Strong will signal the plays from the sideline. There won't be any disagreements over what to call either, Mattison said, because it will have been discussed during the week in meetings.

Those meetings will include heavy input from cornerbacks coach Chuck Heater and safeties coach Doc Holliday.

"The thing people don't realize is on a great staff, everyone could coordinate," Mattison said. "It isn't a magical deal where one of us on the staff walks in and goes, 'OK guys, this is what we're going to do. …

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