With the Florida offense piling up yards and points, sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow is starting to emerge as a possible Heisman candidate across the nation. Here’s something else to speculate on: when does offensive coordinator Dan Mullen’s name start surfacing as a strong head coaching candidate?
That could happen very soon.
Mullen not only coordinates the offense and works with the quarterbacks, he calls the plays. And it’s hard to argue with his play-calling through the first three games. The Gators have averaged 55.7 points and 521.3 yards a game. Those numbers might start to dip a little bit as Florida moves deeper into SEC play, but right now the UF offense is looking like one of the best in the nation. (By the way, Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina offense is averaging only 27.3 points and 385.0 yards a game).
At 35, Mullen’s future appears bright, but probably not for long at Florida because schools looking for a coach are going to find him a very attractive candidate.
Mullen has come a long way since getting a job as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame nine years ago and working under a young wide receivers coach named Urban Meyer.
“He rubbed me the wrong way when I first met him,” Meyer said. “He was asking, ‘Why do I do this, why do I do that?’ He was not necessarily challenging me, but I was a wide receivers coach for a long time and he had some opinions. I was ready to choke him at first.
“Then, as you get to know Dan, he’s a great mind and wants to learn as much as he can about football. He’s a very opinionated guy and an extremely intelligent person as far as understanding defenses. His knowledge of what the defense is trying to do and how fast his mind process it is excellent.”
Mullen served as Meyer’s quarterbacks coach in their two seasons at Utah. When Meyer took the UF job, he brought Mullen with him and made him the offensive coordinator.
“I almost named him the coordinator at Utah, but I didn’t feel he was ready yet,” Meyer said. “When we came here, I felt he was ready.”
Meyer said Mullen’s strength is coaching quarterbacks and calling the game.
“He’s been very innovative in play-calling,” Meyer said. “Early in his tenure here, he was so concerned about other things (involving the offense). His job is to call the game and develop the quarterbacks. I told him, ‘Don’t concern yourself with coaching the entire offense.’ He has a tendency to do that sometimes.
“When he’s at his best is when he lets people coach and he coaches the quarterback and calls the game. He’s a very bright mind.”
And soon to be a very bright, young head coaching candidate, based on what he’s doing with this Florida offense.