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Gregory: “Once I wasn’t [OC] I started looking around”
Posted Feb 12, 2009 by Brett McMurphy
Updated Feb 12, 2009 at 05:58 PM
Greg Gregory said once he was demoted from his offensive coordinator position at the University of South Florida, he decided he needed to coach elsewhere this fall.
On Thursday, Gregory left USF and was named offensive coordinator at the University of South Alabama. The Jaguars play their inaugural season this fall and will become full-fledged Division I-A Sun Belt members in 2013.
Last month Gregory was demoted by USF coach Jim Leavitt when Gregory told Leavitt he was interviewing for the tight ends position at the University of Florida.
“Once I was no longer the coordinator, I had a strong desire to continue to be a coordinator,” Gregory said. “Once I wasn’t [a coordinator] I starting looking around. I think this is a great opportunity at South Alabama.
“One thing I realized last week [at USF], when we started meeting as a staff, it was an awkward position as an entire staff. I understood at that point, that it would be best for all parties if I could move on. In my own mind, if an opportunity came I was going to move.”
Gregory said he had been reassigned by Leavitt to coach the tight ends. Larry Scott, who was tight ends coach last year, was moved to the offensive line with Mike Simmonds as co-offensive line coaches.
Gregory said wide receivers coach Mike Canales assumed the role as offensive coordinator in the team’s meetings, but Leavitt has not made an official announcement on whether Canales will replace Gregory as offensive coordinator. With Gregory’s departure, it’s likely that Scott will return to coaching tight ends and Simmonds will handle all of the offensive line duties.
Although it ultimately led to him leaving USF, Gregory said he did not regret interviewing at Florida.
“I took the chance to go to [interview at the] University of Florida, the national champions,” Gregory said. “That didn’t mean I didn’t want to be at USF. I was encouraged to [interview] by their offensive coordinator and I took that chance.
“I understand what [Leavitt] did, but I was willing to live with it. After a couple of weeks, though, it was an uncomfortable position for everyone.”
Gregory came to USF in 2005 as tight ends coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007. That season, the Bulls set nine offensive school records, including yards per game (414.1).
Even without any first-team All-Big East offensive players in Gregory’s two seasons, the Bulls still averaged more than 400 yards of offense in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
“I was a little disappointed this year,” Gregory said. “We were not moving the ball [as well as 2007], we didn’t finish some things. We didn’t finish off drives, especially in Big East games. The biggest difference from our team the last two years, other than the Oregon game, was we were able to move the ball against everyone we played and put ourselves in a position to win the game.
“My first two years here [in 2005-06 when Rod Smith was coordinator] we had games where we were shut down cold, where we couldn’t move the ball. We were not moving the ball a lick. We had no chance.
“The one thing we’ve shown [the past two years] is we found a way to move the ball in every game and give ourselves an opportunity to win games.”
Gregory said the Bulls, who finished 2-5 in the Big East, did not meet their expectations in 2008.
“This past year, we did not live up to our expectations,” Gregory said. “I don’t think any of us as coaches, offensive or defensive, think we did. There are a lot of reasons behind that.
“The bottom line is you are what you are. Realistically we were an 8-5 football team. We didn’t play at a high enough level or coach at a high enough level across the board. That’s why we ended up 8-5.”
Gregory, 51, is a 28-year coaching veteran, including 16 years as a head coach or offensive coordinator. He said he enjoyed his time at USF.
“I had four great years here,” Gregory said. “I appreciate the opportunity Coach Leavitt gave me. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that we haven’t been able to win a Big East title yet.”