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With Urban Meyer Leaving Florida, Who Will Take His Place?

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With Urban Meyer’s abrupt resignation, that begs the question of who is on the short list to take his place.  The Florida job is one of only a handful of premier jobs in the nation, but coming off of a down season, who they hire could shape the next generation of Gator football. Here are a few thoughts on some of the favorites and some that maybe should be.

Bob Stoops: Anytime the Florida job comes up Stoops name is mentioned. This stems from his stint as defensive coordinator under the Ol’ Ball Coach. He’s making 5 Million a year at Oklahoma, so I’m not sure why he would want to leave. He takes some flack for not winning the big one, but with Texas down, and Nebraska leaving the Big 12, Oklahoma should have free reign in the conference, and that may be too much to leave behind on a whim. Still, Florida AD Jeremy will make the call, and Stoops will more than likely politely decline.

Dan Mullen: Mullen is one of the new hot names in coaching after how he has performed in his first year at perennial cellar-dweller Mississippi State. He spent 8 years in total under Meyer: first as quarterbacks coach at both Bowling Green and Utah, then quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in the swamp. He knows how to recruit, bringing in top 25 classes to the Bulldogs. It’s reported out of a radio station in Tampa that he has been offered the job already, but that is just early speculation, and remains to be seen.

Kyle Whittingham: Another candidate with strong ties to Meyer is current Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.Whittingham served as defensive coordinator under Meyer and runs one of the better programs in the nation. Since taking over for Meyer at Utah the Utes have gone 58-19 including a beatdown of SEC power Alabama in the Sugar Bowl two seasons ago. He is a west coast guy and doesn’t have many ties to SEC country, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his name was brought up to again, fill Meyer’s shoes.

Charlie Strong: Strong has the most clearly defined Florida ties, serving as defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and interim head coach both before and during the Urban Meyer eras. He got his first head coaching job this season at Louisville and transformed them into a competitive team headed for a bowl game. Strong is certainly qualified for the job, but the old boy network is strong in the SEC. It wasn’t until 2004 that Sylvester Croom was hired as the first African-American in the conference, so as much as they may want to deny it, race still plays a role in decision-making.

Jon Gruden: It’s no secret that Gruden wants to get back into coaching. His son Deuce vocally confirmed that much earlier this week. He has strong ties to the state of Florida, but aside from some Hurricane speculation, his only SEC experience is as a grad assistant at Tennessee. Still, he is highly regarded in the state and Florida would love to bring him in. I think Gruden’s coaching bug will lead him back into the NFL. For a guy who already puts in 20 hours of work a day to have to worry about recruiting on top of on-field product seems like a lot to ask, plus, with all of his success in the NFL, he has no reason to go the college route.

Josh McDaniels: This is a name that you probably won’t hear brought up, but should. McDaniels, who was let go from the Broncos yesterday, is a fantastic offensive coach who would thrive in the defensively-challenged SEC. He hasn’t ever mentioned interest in coaching in college, but his options are somewhat limited at this point. He would have to return to an offensive coordinator role in the NFL after his short tenure as head coach ended in resolute failure. However, I do think that he would have incredible success as a college coach. He was criticized in Denver for being too demanding and disciplined. Anonymous playes have been cited that McDaniels thinks that he is Belichick or Parcells, but doesn’t have the resume to back it up. In college, he could have the full-control that he wants, and with his ability to run an offense, become one of the best coaches in college football.


2 Responses to “With Urban Meyer Leaving Florida, Who Will Take His Place?”

  1. I just hope Michigan plays its cards right and doesn’t let Florida take Jim Harbaugh before Michigan even gets a chance to call him. I’m afraid with AD David Brandon waiting till after the bowl game, Michigan is going to lose their “Michigan Man”, AKA Jim Harbaugh.

    Posted by Steve Antoniotti | December 8, 2010, 9:39 pm
    • As odd as it sounds coming from someone living in Ohio, I hope you’re right. A rivalry isn’t a rivalry unless the game means something. For the Big 10’s sake, I’m hoping things turn around up there. Sure it’s funny to see Michigan lose to App St, but it’s just plain sad watching them give up 37 to UMass.

      Posted by Jason Marlo | December 8, 2010, 10:00 pm

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