Florida officially names Armstrong defensive coordinator

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    • #32094
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

        GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Florida head football coach Billy Napier named Austin Armstrong the Gators next defensive coordinator Monday.

        Armstrong, 29, spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Southern Miss. During his first season in 2021, Armstrong was the youngest defensive coordinator in the FBS.

        The Southern Miss defense, known as the Nasty Bunch during Armstrong’s tenure, ranked sixth in the Sun Belt in scoring defense (23.5 ppg), a mark that ranked 45th nationally in 2022. The Golden Eagles were third nationally in tackles for loss per game (8.3), fifth in sacks (3.38) and seventh in interceptions (17). USM was also third in fourth down conversion defense (.231).

        During his first year as the Southern Miss defensive coordinator, USM ranked No. 42 nationally in total defense (385.5), besting their mark by 18 spots from the season before. His defense also ranked in the top 10 in the country in first downs allowed (No. 2), fumbles recovered (No. 4), red zone defense (No. 6) and defensive touchdowns (No. 7) while finishing at No. 15 in turnovers gained and No. 24 in passing yards allowed.

        The Golden Eagles held their opponents to under 100 yards rushing in seven games (out of 24 games) during Armstrong’s tenure and registered the program’s first shutout since 2017 in a 37-0 win over Grambling in 2021.

        Seven USM defenders earned All-Sun Belt recognition in 2022 with linebacker Shantrell Latham and defensive back Malik Shorts named to the first-team and defensive back Jay Stanley garnering third-team recognition while defensive lineman Jalen Williams, linebacker Daylen Gill, linebacker Averie Habas and defensive back Natrone Brooks earned honorable mention honors. Four of his defensive players earned honorable mention All-Conference USA in 2021, including defensive lineman Josh Carr, linebackers Santrell Latham and Hayes Maples, and defensive back Malik Shorts.

        Armstrong spent the 2020 campaign as the inside linebackers coach at Louisiana, where the Ragin’ Cajuns were nationally ranked and the defense held three top-five national rankings through the end of the regular season, including No. 2 in passes intercepted (15), No. 3 in defensive passing efficiency (96.27) and No. 4 in passing yards allowed per game (166.9), in addition to ranking No. 31 in total defense (347.8).

        Armstrong returned to Lafayette after spending the 2019 season at Georgia where he worked as a defensive quality control coach, assisting the Bulldogs as they climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings. UGA finished the 2019 season with a 12-2 record and a win in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

        Armstrong also served as a defensive graduate assistant coach with the Ragin’ Cajuns for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Louisiana claimed its first of back-to-back Sun Belt Conference West Division championships in 2018, played in the Sun Belt’s inaugural football championship game and earned a berth in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

        Prior to his first stint in Lafayette, Armstrong was an assistant defensive line coach at West Georgia (Div. II) for the 2016 season.

        Armstrong earned his bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., in 2014, after playing linebacker for the Hawks for four seasons. He is a native of York, Ala., and is married to Tiffany Armstrong.

      • #32095
        Mark Wheeler
        Forum Owner

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