Could Florida be targeting Jaguars defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi?

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For about as long as the Billy Napier hire has been official at Florida, there have been rumors that the new coach has been targeting Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi for his UF staff. The defensive line spot remains unfilled, and Lupoi, who has spent the last three seasons in the NFL but is known as a tremendous recruiter, could be an ideal hire for that opening.

However, there’s been a lot of smoke but not a lot of fire. Lupoi congratulated Napier and praised his coaching abilities when he was announced as the hire, but former Jags coach Urban Meyer said there was “no substance” to the rumors.

The first real bit of substantive reporting that this could be a possibility came from ESPN Jaguars writer Mike DiRocco. He reported that Lupoi was expected to leave for the Florida job on Thursday. However, the same day, his ESPN colleague Chris Low disputed that report, saying he’s heard that Lupoi to the Gators is not happening, though the coach could potentially be interested in returning to the college ranks.

Lupoi would certainly be an appealing hire for a number of schools. Before working as a defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons and now the Jags, he was an assistant at Alabama. He was a defensive analyst with the Tide from 2014-15 before becoming the outside linebackers coach in 2016, working with Napier during that time.

He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2017, and when Jeremy Pruitt left to take the Tennessee job after that season, he became the primary coordinator joined by current ‘Bama defensive coordinator Pete Golding. Before working at Alabama, he was a defensive line coach at Washington and California.

With Meyer’s firing, whoever the new hire is will likely choose to clean house when it comes to staff, meaning the timing for Lupoi to make a jump back to the college ranks would make a lot of sense. However, it sounds like if that happens, it won’t be to Florida.

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