All Gators can confirm that Florida has hired Joe Houston to handle its special teams as a senior analyst.

Houston, 37, will join the Gators in an off-field capacity following four seasons as the New England Patriots’ assistant special teams coach.

Jacob Rudner of Swamp247 was the first to disclose Houston’s imminent hire.

Houston brings to the Gators eight seasons of college special teams coaching expertise, as well as four years of professional experience. Prior to joining the Patriots, he was scheduled to coach special teams at Alabama under Nick Saban in 2020.

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In New England, Houston collaborated with associate head coach Joe Judge and special teams coordinator Cam Achord to organize and gameplan the Pats’ special teams squads, as well as to help develop the team’s kickers.

Houston attended Iowa State for four seasons before joining the NFL, serving as special teams coordinator for one year in 2018. He guided two kickers, Cole Netten and Garrett Owens, to All-Big-12 honors in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Houston, a Redondo Beach, Calif. native, entered the coaching ranks after playing kicker at the University of Southern California from 2007 to 2010 and a brief semi-professional career. In 2010, he won a starting spot for the Trojans and made 10-of-16 field goals and all 43 extra-point attempts.

Following college, he played for the Chicago Rush and Nebraska Danger in the Arena Football League, where he tied an AFL record with 11 extra-point conversions in a single game in 2012.

Houston will work alongside analyst Chris Couch atop Florida’s special teams and situational football department.

Couch has occupied the analyst role of “GameChanger Coordinator” for Florida since his 2022 hiring, placing him in charge of the Gators’ special teams over the past two seasons from off the field.

The unit’s results left plenty to be desired during that stretch.Although its kicking and returning teams improved marginally year-over-year with a changes in personnel, Florida nearly averaged one special teams penalty per game between 2022-23 with 24 in total — most egregiously including the deployment of two players with the same jersey number on the same play against Utah in 2023. Individual units were also not infrequently observed with fewer than 11 players on the field.

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