After rumors turned into verified news on Sunday, the University of Florida’s football program officially announced that both defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy would no longer be with the team on Monday.
Grantham’s departure was the more expected of the two, but head coach Dan Mullen seemed to prefer to wait until after the season to make that kind of change. An embarrassing 40-17 loss to South Carolina on Saturday accelerated that timetable and the move was made one day later. Linebackers coach Christian Robinson is set to take over the playcalling on defense and special assistant to the head coach Paul Pasqualoni will now have an on-field role for the rest of the season.
Mullen brought Grantham with him from Mississippi State after spending a year together in 2017. In 2019, Grantham’s second year with the Gators, Florida allowed the second least yards per game on average in the Southeastern Conference. Those numbers quickly fell off in the following years, and several teams began to read to Grantham’s defense easily (see LSU and South Carolina this season).
Gators fans have been clamoring for this change for a while, and it seems like Grantham’s departure is also being noticed by some players (both current and incoming). Senior defensive lineman Zach Carter took to Twitter to say “nobody cares! keep going,” later clarifying that his message was for players to be wary of outside noise. Sophomore defensive lineman Princely Umanmielen added “control what you control” on social media as well.
Hevesy had been with Mullen since 2001 at Bowling Green but was in the final year of his contract and recruiting poorly. The Gators missed out on most of their top offensive line recruits with Hevesy leading the charge and recruiting had already become a hot topic before the South Carolina loss.
Four-star offensive tackle Malik Agbo weighed in on Hevesy’s departure calling it “shocking” for the Gators to make a move at this point in the season. But Agbo also understands the business side of football and still plans on taking his official visit to Florida, according to 247Sports.
Michael Sollenne, a graduate assistant that’s been with the team since 2020, will work with the offensive line for the rest of the year.
Firing Hevesy and Grantham ultimately takes some heat off of Mullen, the sixth-highest paid coach in college football. Florida is below .500 for the first time since Mullen arrived in Gainesville, and to say that his seat was anything but hot before the South Carolina game would be lying. With things scalding after the loss, there was really no other option for Mullen but to make a change.
Still, Florida’s head coach has seemed despondent at times this season and is far from being in safe waters. This is the SEC and moving secondary coaches only buys you so much time. Sources told ESPN that Mullen made these moves because he needed to “create a spark” for the remainder of the year. If that spark isn’t big enough, more changes could follow after the season.