Florida New Assistant Coaches Share Deep History: The Florida defensive coordinator, sporting a familiar visor, once served under Georgia’s Kirby Smart. Austin Armstrong, now leading the Gators’ defense, worked as a defensive analyst for Smart at Alabama in 2011 and 2012.
Armstrong’s journey includes a $50,000 stint as Georgia’s defensive quality control coordinator in 2019. Fast forward to his current role with the Gators, where he commands a three-year, $3.6 million contract with a $1.1 million base salary.
Russ Callaway, with roots tied to former Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway, is another key figure. Promoted from defensive intern, he played a crucial role in Samford’s offensive coordination and assisted LSU and the New York Giants before joining Florida.
Georgia’s head coach, Smart, acknowledges the talent of Armstrong and Callaway, praising their coaching prowess and work ethic. Armstrong, an advocate of Nick Saban, transitioned from Southern Miss’s defensive coordinator to his current role, implementing similar schemes to Georgia.
Florida’s defensive performance has notably improved, ranking 5th in the SEC in total defense and scoring defense. Armstrong emphasizes reinstating Florida’s standards and building a product worthy of pride.
Smart describes Armstrong as an “idea guy,” always seeking innovative approaches and unafraid to voice his ideas—a quality appreciated in a young coach.
Russ Callaway’s journey started as a quarterback at Valdosta State, linking up with Smart at Alabama. Smart, true to his word, provided Callaway with coaching opportunities, highlighting the mutual respect between them.
Callaway’s diverse experience, including time with Coach Billy Napier, reflects his prowess in offering an offensive perspective to the defensive staff. Napier commends Callaway’s football knowledge and recruiting acumen.
The intertwining paths of Armstrong and Callaway showcase the deep connections and mutual respect within the coaching fraternity, especially in the competitive arena of SEC football.