Florida legend Mike Peterson returns to Gators as outside linebackers coach

By Adam Silverstein
January 4, 2022
Florida legend Mike Peterson returns to Gators as outside linebackers coach

Image Credit: UAA

Former Florida Gators linebacker Mike Peterson, a first-team All-American in 1998 who won a national championship with the program in 1996, has returned to his hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Peterson has been hired by head coach Billy Napier as the program’s next outside linebackers coach.

A member of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame, Peterson is also being given the position of alumni liaison, an unusual additional label for an on-field coach but one that makes sense given his deep ties to the university.

A 14-year NFL veteran, Peterson joined Florida as a strength and conditioning coach under then-head coach Will Muschamp in 2013 after his professional football career concluded. When Muschamp was hired to lead South Carolina, he brought Peterson along as outside linebackers coach, a position Peterson left to take the same job with the Gators.

It was reported on Dec. 23 that Napier was targeting four NFL assistants for the remaining positions on his initial Florida staff. Chris Rumph of the Chicago Bears and Eric Henderson of the Los Angeles Rams were previously believed to be front-runners to coach outside linebackers and the defensive line, respectively.

The hiring of Peterson means one of Rumph or Henderson will almost assuredly not be a member of the staff. Whichever of the two, if either, is hired will coach the defensive line. Henderson’s offer was reported by The Athletic’s G. Allan Taylor to be in the range of $1 million, making it likely that Rumph is the odd man out here.

If the previously reported forthcoming hires are also made, here is how the Florida coaching staff could look almost completely assembled. Rumored targets are in italics within the list below.

Head coach: Billy Napier

Coordinator (?) / offensive line: Rob Sale
Asst. offensive line: Darnell Stapleton
Running backs: Jabbar Juluke
Wide receivers: Keary Colbert
Tight ends: William Peagler

Co-defensive coordinator / safeties: Patrick Toney
Co-defensive coordinator / inside linebackers: Karl Scott
Cornerbacks: Corey Raymond
Outside linebackers: Mike Peterson
Defensive line: Eric Henderson or Chris Rumph

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