Dan Mullen during a press conference on February 16. (Courtesy of Florida Media Portal/Gator Vision)

Wesley McGriff joins Gators after stint at Auburn

Wesley McGriff has spent his career taking a tour around the SEC. Over his 30 years in coaching, McGriff resided in Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Auburn.

In January, he arrived in his new spot-Gainesville. Gators Head Coach Dan Mullen hired the 52-year-old on Jan. 9, 2021, to be a new assistant coach.

Background

His last spot was Auburn, where he served as the secondary coach for two years. McGriff has a wealth of experience, not just in the collegiate level, but professionally as well. He started coaching in 1990 at his alma mater, Savannah State, in 1990, the year he graduated. After five seasons at Savannah State, another five at Kentucky State, one at Eastern Kentucky, UK hired him in 2001 to be its running backs coach. He remained in the college ranks until 2013, traveling from Kentucky, to Baylor, to Miami, to Vanderbilt, to Ole Miss, before landing an NFL job in New Orleans. He was the Saints defensive backs coach until 2015, before going back to Ole Miss and then Auburn.

Quotes

McGriff spoke to reporters at UF spring practice Thursday. McGriff said he plans on just doing his job, and all else will follow.

McGriff knows UF’s coaching well due to his years coaching in the SEC. He said he has a ton of respect for much-maligned Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Grantham has been on the job since 2018.

Florida’s secondary will be completely revamped. Safeties Donovan Stiner, Brad Stewart, Marco Wilson and Shawn Davis all declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, leaving McGriff and fellow new coach Jules Montinar with the task of teaching a young and inexperienced unit. McGriff stated that it is a tough, but exciting challenge.

McGriff has spend a share of time in the SEC going against Mullen. He said he is grateful he does not have to compete versus him, harkening back to the 2019 game between Florida and Auburn, a game in which No. 10 Florida upset No. 7 Auburn 24-13 in Gainesville.

McGriff continued by adding that having an offense like Mullen does helps the defense immensely.

“I’m glad I’m on his side now,” McGriff said. “We can get those points on offense, and we can get a short field now and have a lot of points on the board playing defense. He does a great job offensively. I love hearing him talking ball. I tell a lot of defensive coaches to listen to the offensive coaches talk. Just hearing them in the room sitting there talking about routes, formations, mismatches. That just validates the fact that I don’t like playing against him.”

What’s Ahead?

McGriff won’t have much more time to work with the defense as spring practice ends March 20. He’ll have all summer, however, before the season begins Sept. 4 against Florida Atlantic.

About Noah Ram

Check Also

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine May 10

The Back Nine comes at you after a big weekend for Gator sports and a …