Wednesday, December 8, 2021

NWN source: Florida fires veteran assistants Grantham, Hevesie

GAINESVILE, Fla. (NWN) — Florida fired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesie on Sunday, a person familiar with the decision said, parting ways with two assistants a day after a 40-17 loss to South Carolina .

The man spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Gators (4-5, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) had not made the move public. Coach Dan Mullen is due to address the staff change on Monday afternoon.

The Athletic was the first to report the firing.

Grantham and Hevesie were in the final year of their contracts in Florida. Grantham made $1.8 million a year, and Hevesie was getting $620,000.

Hevesey had been coaching with Mullen for the past two decades. They were together again at Bowling Green (2001–02), Utah (2003–04), Florida (2005–08), Mississippi State (2009–17) and Florida (2008–21).

Grantham spent the last five seasons with Mullen, including the 2017 season at Mississippi State.

The offensive line and defensive struggles have been among the most glaring issues for the Gators, who have lost three and eight of their last 10 runs against Power Five opponents.

The Gators ran a season-low 82 yards against South Carolina. His defense allowed Gamecock a season-high 459 yards and its most points in the series.

Run defense has been a recurring problem for Florida, which left 454 yards — including 321 on the ground — at LSU three weeks ago. The Gators were rounded up over and over again by the same counter play.

Many thought Mullen would move on from Grantham after a surprise defeat to the Tigers, but he gave the veteran coordinator a chance to fine-tune his defense. It had the opposite effect. The unit in Columbia, South Carolina did not look motivated to play, much less tackle.

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Grantham’s job is in jeopardy as Florida allowed 30.8 points in a game last season. The event was the highest in over a hundred years, and the gators were equally ineffective against runs and passes. They have gained 144 points in three consecutive defeats till the end of 2020.

Mullen responded by shooting two defensive assistants. Florida had reason to believe the 2020 results were tentative. The Gators pointed to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the cancellation of 15 spring practices, ending the entire offseason of work and eroding opportunities for months of bonding.

Result shown.

The Gators surrendered eight plays of 30 or more yards in the season-opening shootout in Mississippi and two weeks later in a close defeat at Texas A&M, giving up 543 yards, including 205 on the ground. Throws in South Carolina, and Florida allowed 100 points in their first three games for the first time since 1917.

Florida’s much-discredited unit finished the season in 83rd place among 127 teams.

Two days after losing 55–20 to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, Mullen fired secondary coaches Ron English and Torian Gray. He replaced them with Wesley McGriff of Auburn and Jules Montinar of South Florida.

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