Florida Football: Who Will The Gators Pursuit to Fill Urban Meyer’s Shoes

Sure, we don’t like to get ahead of ourselves. It seems not to long ago that former-Florida coach Urban Meyer was resigning from his head coaching position in Gainesville.

Once again today, the two-time national championship coach stepped down from his heralded position. With a 7-5 record, Meyer will coach the Gators one last time in the Outback bowl on January first.

The Florida position is very enticing for any football coach. The program is prestigious, holds strong alumni and donor support, and has the ability to garner the attention of any talented national recruit.

Here is an early look at possible replacements for Meyer in Florida.

Dan Mullen

A former offensive coordinator under Meyer in Florida, Mullen left to take the head coaching position at Mississippi State in 2008. In recent days Mullen has been linked to the coaching vacancy at Miami.

A very obvious candidate, his knowledge of the spread option would allow for a very fluent period of transition in Gainesville.

Steve Spurrier

What an intriguing story the return of coach Spurrier to Gainesville would be. The current South Carolina coach is the architect of what the Gator program has become today.

He led them to six SEC conference titles, their first national title in 1996, and won the Heisman Trophy in 1966 as the Florida quarterback. Many fans have not fully gotten over him leaving for the NFL in 2001.

Spurrier knows he has a better opportunity to win a title with the Gators then the Gamecocks.

Chip Kelly

As much as Oregon fans don’t want to hear this, Kelly, Mullen, and Meyer all coach with a very similar offensive mindset.

Mullen, and Kelly know each other from their days in New Hampshire, and Mullen has a long track record working with Meyer. All three know the spread option inside out.

Recently, Kelly signed a long-term contract loaded with incentive to stay with Oregon.  It would be a guarantee that Nike University would stop at nothing to keep him in Eugene.

Rich Rodriguez

West Virginia’s number one villain knows he only has one more year to get it done in Ann Arbor.

Rodriguez recorded his best season with the Wolverines in 2010 after finally filling his spread offensive system with the correct personnel.

Surely not high on Florida’s wish list, “Rich Rod” has shown no loyalties in the past, and may feel the need to jump ship before he is given the boot.

Chris Peterson

Moving to the mediocre Mountain West, and failing to capitalize on the programs best chance to reach a BCS Championship game, Peterson may have learned he has reached the peak of the Boise State mountain.

The Bronco head coach is young, charismatic, and has shown the ability to capitalize on the talent he is given. Imagine Peterson with an abundance of blue-chip recruits, and the opportunity of a lifetime.

If the Gators look to Boise, expect Peterson to immediately search for Gainesville real estate.

Mike Bellotti

Currently finishing his second season out of coaching, the ESPN analyst has been rumored to be on the market once again.

While Bellotti is not a spread option guru, he has always had the ability to fill his coaching staff with experts of their craft. At Oregon he hired Chris Peterson, Jeff Tedford, Chip Kelly, and Gary Crowton.

One would assume he would look to stay on the west coast, but even a coach with his prestige would carefully consider the Gator job.

Kyle Whittingham

Known more as a defensive coach, Whittingham worked with Meyer at Utah from 2003 until 2004. When Meyer left for Florida, he accepted the head coaching position at Utah.

The Ute coach has successfully ran with Meyer’s BCS success, and finished the 2008 season undefeated with a victory over Alabama. With a mediocre offensive showing in 2010, the Florida athletic director may be looking for more of an offensive minded coach.

Probably not high on the wish list, the credentials of Whittingham are still very impressive.

Other Potential Candidates

Jon Gruden – While he didn’t show interest in the Miami job, you still never know with Chucky.

Josh McDaniel – A long shot, the former Denver coach would be an intriguing candidate.

Mike Gundy – The Oklahoma State coach has a proven track record of big offense and producing NFL ready prospects.

~ by philip d. on December 8, 2010.

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