Although several names have been throw out there in recent weeks, Florida coach Urban Meyer is not close to filling the two vacancies on his coaching staff.
In a text message, Meyer said he was not going to rush hiring replacements for Doc Holliday and Stan Drayton. He said he planned to hire the best coaches available and that nothing would happen until after national signing day next Wednesday.
Meyer obviously has been focusing on recruiting, and he’s been able to put together one of the nation’s top classes even with two assistants missing, including one of the top recruiters on the staff (Holliday).
When Meyer turns his focus to a coaching search next week, he’ll definitely have an idea where to look.
Back in December, when Holliday emerged as a candidate for the head coaching job at West Virginia, Meyer said every year he comes up with a list of potential assistants should someone leave his staff. He said he bases his list on coaches he has some connection with, would get along with the rest of the staff, and recruits lights out.
One of Meyer’s strengths as a head coach has been his ability to put together a cohesive and productive staff. That strength should be evident again when he makes his two hires in the next few weeks.
Strong not going anywhere
Speaking of assistant coaches, co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong’s name keeps coming up in rumors.
The latest comes from Alabama, where a writer from there told me last week he had heard from a head coach (somewhere in the South, I assume) that Strong would be leaving UF after national signing day.
My immediate response was this was an old rumor that had absolutely no validity. I told the writer it probably stemmed from Miami coach Randy Shannon trying to lure Strong to Coral Gables to be his defensive coordinator a few weeks ago. Strong turned down a lucrative offer from UM because he does not want to uproot his family (especially to go to south Florida).
Strong has been doing his usual relentless work on the recruiting trail for UF and is looking forward to coaching a talented group of young linebackers in the spring and next season.
Strong’s next move will be to become a head coach somewhere.
So, if you hear a rumor that Strong is leaving after signing day, quickly dismiss it. There is nothing to it.
The Gators have 21 commitments at this point and will finish with a signing class of 23 next Wednesday.
The focus now is filling those two spots, and everybody knows who the targets are ” Lakeland Kathleen wide receiver T.J. Lawrence and Hoover, Ala., defensive end/linebacker William Green.
Green has been considering taking a visit to Alabama this weekend, but there’s apparently a good chance that won’t happen now. What might happen is Green could make his decision this week (maybe as soon as Wednesday) and announce for the Gators.
UF has been recruiting Green longer than any other school and he has listed Florida as his leader throughout the recruiting process. He told Rivals.com that he told the UF coaches on his visit to Gainesville two weeks ago that he was coming to Florida. He then canceled a visit to Clemson last weekend and said he would not take any more trips.
If he doesn’t make that short drive to Tuscaloosa this weekend, it’s good news for the Gators.
Prediction: Green commits to the Gators before the end of the week.
As for Lawrence, he plans to hold off announcing anything until national signing day, so there certainly will be some suspense surrounding his decision.
His parents are big Gator fans and they obviously want him to pick UF. He had an excellent visit to South Carolina last weekend and some were thinking he was about to commit to the Gamecocks and former UF coach Steve Spurrier, but that didn’t happen. Michigan is also still in the picture.
Word out of South Carolina now is that Lawrence appears headed UF’s way.
This one may still be too close to call, but we’re going to do it anyway.
Prediction: Lawrence makes his family happy and signs with Florida next Wednesday, filing out UF’s class of 23.