A lifelong college football coach, Florida Gators co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Sean Spencer arrived in Gainesville after two years with the New York Giants following six campaigns under james franklin at Penn State. While he never worked with first-year Florida head coach Billy Napierhe revealed how he got the opportunity to head to Gainesville while speaking with the media recently.
“So, I worked with a guy named lamar morgan who is currently the defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette,” Spencer said. “He was a graduate assistant for us at Vanderbilt and he really spoke fundally of Billy Napier. I was with several guys when I was with the Giants like Kevin Sherrer and Jeremy Pruitt and Jody Wright who’s at South Carolina now and all they could do was speak so highly of him.
“Of course I was with (Florida offensive coordinator) Rob Dirty. Rob Dirty was at the Giants, and when he had the opportunity to help bring me on here, I talked to those guys about it. He’s been everything that they’ve talked about — a stand-up guy. He’s been everything they’ve talked about. He doesn’t miss a beat — I mean — not a beat. He sees everything in the big picture, and he’s a good guy for me to be around and be mentored by.”
As for why he came back to college instead of staying in the NFL, the 51-year-old Spencer went in-depth on that process.
“Well, I missed — as we talked about — mentorship,” he said. “I missed that part of mentoring a young man. I grew up without a father and I really felt like this was my gift back, like for something I didn’t have. It was my gift back that I was able to connect with young people. Having a teenage daughter — I know a lot more stuff that they think I know about the world and I’m pretty hip. They’re like ‘Coach, how do you know about that?’ I’m like ‘I got that, my daughter hooked me up.’
“So, I just love mentoring players and helping them further their careers. Not just in football, but in life. That’s not to say you don’t do that in the NFL — I had great connections there. (Giants defensive end) leonard williams — I’m very close to leonard williams. (Minnesota Vikings and former Giants DT) Dalvin Tomlinson(DE Giants) Dexter Lawrence and (Chargers and ex-Giants DT) Austin Johnson — I’m very close with those guys, but it’s a business as you know. It’s kind of like they’re here today, they’re gone tomorrow, but the relationships I had in college — I missed that right there. I missed that mentor, that big brother, that father for those kids. That’s all positions, too, for me. I talk to the quarterbacks as much as I talk to the D-Line.”
While with the Nittany Lions, Spencer helped coach Penn State to five straight seasons with at least 40 sacks (2015-2019). Meanwhile, Penn State led the country in sacks per game in both 2015 (3.54 per game) and 2018 (3.62 per game).
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Spencer has coached at least 10 NFL Draft picks as a college coach, including two at Vanderbilt. While at Penn State he helped develop austin johnson (second round, 2016), Carl Nassib (third round, 2016), Anthony Zettel (sixth round, 2016), Shareef Miller (fourth round, 2019), Yetur Gross-Matos (second round, 2020), Robert Windsor (sixth round, 2020), Odafe Oweh (first round, 2021) and Shaka Toney (seventh round, 2021).