For the second time in his career, Randy Shannon is a head coach.
But this one comes under different circumstances than the first one.
His first head coaching gig came at Miami, his alma mater from 2007-2010. While in charge of the Hurricanes, he went 28-22.
Now, Shannon is the interim head coach at Florida after the Gators announced they parted ways with Jim McElwain on Sunday. With Florida at 3-4, Shannon isn’t necessarily stepping into the easiest of situations with a team that was supposed to challenge to go to Atlanta now fighting just to make a bowl game.
And Shannon is taking things one step—and game—at a time.
“Can’t even think about a bowl game, to be honest with you,” he said. “You’ve got to think about this game against Missouri. You start thinking about the bowl game, you start losing sight of what you’re trying to get done.”
Quarterback Situation and Defense
To start, he’s already opened up the quarterback competition between Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire following Florida’s 42-7 loss to Georgia in which Franks threw for only 30 yards in three and a half quarters. Zaire came in halfway through the fourth, and led the team on its only scoring drive while also throwing for 33 yards.
“It depends on who does the best in practice,” Shannon said Monday. “The one thing is when you compete, you are going to be up or you are going to be down. When you make guys competitive in practice, you really find out what you are going to get at game time.”
Tuesday, he followed up on the competition, saying a decision as to who will start will come either Wednesday or Thursday.
“Good competition. We’re rotating guys. One area, Malik [Zaire] will take a period with the ones, and then the next time we go to another period, Feleipe will take them… best thing about it is, when you compete every day, it brings the best out of you.”
Whether it’s Zaire or Franks, Shannon emphasized the gameplan is going to be tailored to whatever they specifically do best.
“We’ve got to make sure we do the things he can do,” Shannon said. “Whatever quarterback it is, and make him successful.”
Takeaway from Randy Shannon press conference: He's going to shake up a lot for #Gators. Nothing to lose for him in this audition.
— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp) October 30, 2017
In terms of the defense, Shannon noted that the main thing for the players to work on was filling the run gaps, saying that they were undisciplined with that against a Georgia team that averaged 8.3 yards a carry. Shannon also added that Coach Rumph will take over the play-calling duties for the defense.
No matter what decisions he makes though, it’s with the mindset of one game at a time.
“Think about Missouri right now and after that, whoever is next, that’s the most important game.”