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Two Florida assistant coaches are fired after team loses its third game in row

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A third consecutive loss has sparked changes to Florida's coaches staff.

The school parted ways with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and running game coordinator/offensive line coach John Hevesy. Both assistants have been on the Gators staff since Mullen’s hiring in 2018 and were previously with him at Mississippi State.

Florida confirmed the moves Monday after published reports Sunday about the changes.

Grantham first served as Mullen's defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2017, while Hevesy was with Mullen for his entire nine-year stint in Starkville (2009-17). Mullen and Hevesy have worked together for the past 21 years, dating back to their days as assistants at Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04) and Florida (2005-08).

Florida coach Dan Mullen walks off the field after his team's loss to Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Florida coach Dan Mullen walks off the field after his team's loss to Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Saturday's 40-17 loss to South Carolina dropped Florida below .500 (4-5) for the first time since 2017. Mullen was asked after the defeat if he might not wait until the end of the season to make staff changes.

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"It's something we’ve got to look at," Mullen said of the rush defense. "Maybe just, you know, schematically some things going on, some missed tackles. We've got to be stouter up front. We've got to be better and more physical right at the line of scrimmage and the point of attack with our defensive front.

“Obviously we wanted to come in and run the ball. That was going to be something we wanted to do early on. … We just got to execute better up front. You know, I think we had some guys miss some time this week up front. But, you know, we still got to execute much better at the line of scrimmage.”

Linebackers coach Christian Robinson will assume defensive play-calling duties, while Paul Pasqualoni, special assistant to the head coach, will play an on-field role for the remaining of the 2021 season, the school announced Monday. Pasqualoni has served as head coach at Syracuse and Connecticut, in addition to several stops in the NFL.

Florida's offensive line will be coached by graduate assistant Michael Sollenne for the remainder of the season.

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

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida coach Dan Mullen makes staff changes, including Todd Grantham