The new look SEC

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Has the dust settled yet? Is the Season of the Weird finally over or is Derek Dooley going to hire Mike Tyson to be his defensive coordinator?

Most importantly, what does it all mean to the Gator Nation?

Did Tennessee weaken itself with the hiring of Dooley? Not really. Those who know him best think he’s an outstanding young coach. Was it a reach? Sure. Mike Hamilton has had to reach on both of his football hires. So he’s reached out for a coach with a losing record and a famous daddy. I guess Skip Holtz was out because he had a winning record last year.

Still, Tennessee’s football program is not going to go south because of the hiring of Dooley. It is irrelevant because of the hiring of Lane Kiffin. He did more damage to Tennessee football than Steve Spurrier. On my radio show Friday, my buddy Chris Low of ESPN likened it to being napalmed. It’s going to take a while for Tennessee to recover and it would have no matter who it had hired.

Unless it was Nick Saban or Urban Meyer.

Which brings me to the new ranking of coaches in the SEC. Let me know what you think.

1. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. Sorry, but there is no way to take one over the other. I’m convinced Meyer will be fine in the fall but won’t be around for a lot longer coaching the Gators. If you want to use that as a criteria, OK. But both coaches are at the top of any list.

3. Bobby Petrino. Watch out for the Hogs this season.

4. Mark Richt. Todd Grantham was a great hire.

5. Houston Nutt. Loses points for 2009 season.

6. Steve Spurrier. Are the Gamies ever going to win nine games?

7. Les Miles. A lot of luster has dropped off The Hat.

8. Joker Phillips. Savvy guy who is a big reason Kentucky has turned it around.

9. Gene Chizik. I may have been wrong about him but let’s see this year.

10. Dan Mullen. Good start, but jury is still out.

11. Derek Dooley. A 4-8 record last year didn’t make itself up.

12. Bobby Johnson. I understand the pitfalls but last year was pathetic.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I think the Gators should start forming a plan now to hire Saban when Meyer hangs it up.
    His history (Saban’s) shows he is prone to jump around. With Saban as our coach we wouldn’t have to ever face him again and we would have another great coach….Jeremy start shoving money aside now.

  2. First of all, why would you think Urban would make the effort to get things right only to come back in the fall and then leave shortly thereafter???? Makes no sense to me. I think he is working toward doing the things he needs to do so that he can be the coach here for the forseeable future. Urban is no dummy, he knows what kind of boss, what kind of facilities and what kind of support he has here. And he knows what it took to build what he has built. That’s why he couldn’t just walk away. Now whether that’s another 5 or 7 or 10 years, I don’t know and I’m sure he doesn’t either. But it makes absolutely NO SENSE to go thru all this and then come back and then take off in a year or two…

  3. Pat, I agree with those above. I also think Urban will be going through a learning process next season regarding how to delegate more to his assistants, while remaining the face of Gator Nation Football, and hopefully enjoying his job more and stressing less. If he accomplishes this, hopefully we will see Urban on the sidelines for many years to come. If not, he has helped write a glorius chapter for Florida Football and we will always love him for that! Let’s not forget the HUGE expectations this past season. I think anyone would have struggled with that. Even SOS talked about how 10 wins weren’t good enough anymore when he left. Those high expectations, in large part, can be attributed to you media boys.

  4. I’m with the last two commenters…unless of course you really DO know something the rest of us don’t, Pat (which of course is possible; got some insider-rumors you’re just busting to share?)? Unless this is all just a way to loyally “let The Program down easy”, help leave it in a strong position, I tend to take Coach Meyer at his word, and that this rejuvenation we’re hearing about (and all can see signs of) bodes well for his return and long term rededication to his work at UF. If this turns out to be the case, then it is that very difference between the two men, Meyer the builder and mentor, Saban the short attention span, hard-driving challenge-taker, that to me makes Meyer the guy for us. They’re both great coaches; time will tell which program was better served.

  5. I tend to agree with Pat that Meyer’s time could be short. Setting up a “Process” that is independent of the “Uber” leader is consistent with the current approach of corporate america. It appears that this approach is being used to some degree with all the coaching successor plans that are in place at major universities. It almost makes sense to instutionalize the business model set up by Urban Meyer (could this be the plan?) so the program’s success outlives his tenure. He also appears to be training a successor. This does not mean that Adazzio will be the head coach but it would leave UF with much better options than UT had in this instance.

  6. I’m hopeful Urban finds a formula that allows him to have it all — health, family and football. What he’s doing now — giving himself permission to get away from coaching — may be the secret. He works his 70-100-hour weeks from July to Feb., then turns the reins over to assistants to direct spring ball and weight training. The question is can he let go and get away? This offseason will be a good gauge. Oh, and should Urban leave, we can do better than Saban. How ’bout Brian Schottenheimer in five years? Go Gators!

  7. I think that we all need to leave Urban Meyer alone for a while and let him relax. When we take a vacation we usually don’t want our palm pilots or GPS sytem tracking our every move. Leave that to the star chasing paparazzi.

    I don’t think most of us really care if Urban snared the last pieece of steak from his daughter’s plate and wolfed it down,
    He never did strike me as a Fressen, and opposed to Essen kind of guy and besides, family time should be none of our business.
    Every moment of someone’s waking, or sleeping moments for that matter, should not be for public sneeking. I don’t know President’s Obama’s bathroom schedule and if he always does a number one with a number two. WHO CARES AND PLEASE, REGARDING URBAN, LEAVE THE POOR GUY ALONE FOR A CHANGE!!

    And how can Florida be ranked number 6 when National Signing Day hasn’t even happenned? If Urban does leave it will be partially because of folks like you. LEAVE HIM ALONE FOR A WHILE!!!

  8. Pat, you left out one ingredient to success and the SEC title game, players.

    Your right on about Saban and Myer.

    As a Gator fan, I’m blind as a bat to think and fooling myself to listen to my always optimistic fellow Gator fans that John Brantley is going to step in and we don’t miss a beat.

    Dude, I would like it to happen, but come on, players (and Tebow…)win titles first and if you don’t have them…..

    Just ask FSU and Auburn, flat out void of talent at the moment.

    Now UF is not in the situation of FSU and Allbarn, but face it next yr. is a rebuilding situation, if we pull a 9-4 like a few short yrs. ago and a Mud Bowl (Citrus) act next yr. am I shocked? Don’t we play Alabummer there next yr?

    Get real

  9. WHY are you convinced that Meyer won’t be around a lot longer to coach the Gators?
    And what do you mean “[not] a lot longer??” (ie: how long??)
    Since you claim to be personally close to the Meyer’s, this concerns me!!!
    I hope you’re wrong for obvious reasons!
    The Meyer-Saban rivalry would, and hopefully will, be a great one for years to come! (maybe Urban realizes this and fears the impending stress [not that other top coaches don’t experience the self-same stress]).
    I’ll bet Urban goes the Saban (et al) route: go pro then return to the college ranks (perish the thought!!!).
    Lastly, Saban’s not “prone to jump around” any more than the next top coach. He went from LSU to pro then back to college.
    Some may think that now that he’s rebuilt the storied Alabama program, he may want to move on to some other challenge.
    That may well be true, but most moves are a step UP.
    As much as I love the Gators, a move from the Crimson Tide to the Gators is at best a step sideways. Plus, our program is not on the skids, so where’s the challenge? Even if it were [to become], it would be his third team in the SEC, and I believe the “been there, done that” syndrome would be at play.
    But if he is partial to the SEC (and who would blame him?) and were indeed to seek a new challenge, he might consider the Spurrier route: taking a lesser SEC team under his wing and trying his hand at turning them around. Spurrier (and Lou Holtz) has shown exactly how challenging that is.
    If Saban could do what Holtz couldn’t and Spurrier hasn’t (not necessarily with South Carolina), then how great of a coach would he be considered?!?
    But I suspect he’s prone to hedge his bets. Notice his two college championships have been with traditional football powers in the strongest conference. How hard is it to recruit for LSU and Alabama?!?!?
    Assuming he doesn’t grow too comfy in Tuscaloosa, my money’s on him going to some other major conference (such as the Big 10, Big 12, or PAC 10), which has as rich a history as the SEC (if not more-so), but which, despite perennial rankings, has been outmatched by the SEC in recent years, with a team that has a rich football history in its own rite, but which either has been on the skids of late or, if not, simply hasn’t been able to consistantly compete with SEC powers (and which has a conference rival that has dominated them of late).
    Such conference teams that come to mind are Michigan, Nebraska, and UCLA.
    A prime non-conference candidate, one which would catapult the right coach into college football lore if he were to succeed in returning them to glory (and consistently “best” the SEC), would be Notre Dame!
    That said, there must be either something negative about Notre Dame or something really positive about UF, for Meyer, who’s referred to Notre Dame as his would-be “dream” head coaching job, who’s already been an assistant coach there, who hails from the north/midwest, AND who is a Catholic, has already turned it down TWICE when it was wide open – first five years ago to go to UF, and then again five weeks ago to STAY at UF!!!
    If this is not proof poitive that it’s truly great to be a Florida Gator, then I don’t know what is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What more can I say except (c’mon, everyone say it together),
    IT’S GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR!!!

  10. Do not agree with gator geek. We will be better than 9-4 next year. Without any doubt we will miss Tim. He was not the same player after the injury at KY. If you noticed he did not meet tacklers head on after that. That is ok because he had to protect himself from an other concussion. He did come back and play a great game in the sugar bowel.. Next year the offense will change to one similar to the Chris Leak style with one exception, Johnny can throw an accurate deep ball. Defense will be fine. With they powerful recruting class coming in, look out for the 2011 season.