Watch for these two for UF vacancy

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In his two news conferences since Urban Meyer resigned, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has made it abundantly clear what he is looking for in his next head football coach.

He’s wants a guy who can win with integrity. He wants a guy whose personality and demeanor will fit in around the athletic department and in the community.

In other words, during the interview process with candidates, he’s going to be looking for that same sort of special connection that he felt when he first met Meyer in Meyer’s Utah living room a little more than six years ago.

Here are the two candidates I think it’s most likely to happen with: Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, who is a close friend of Meyer’s.

These two coaches seem to perfectly fit the Foley profile.

They’re both a lot like Meyer in that they’re strong family guys, have engaging personalities (and are friends with their athletic director), and win a lot of football games — and do it the right way.

I’m not privy to Foley’s interview schedule for the next few days (or weeks), but I have a feeling that once he has a chance to sit down with Petersen and Whittingham and get to know them, he’s going to have a strong feeling who he wants as his next football coach.

These guys really fit the profile.

One candidate who appears to be slipping down Florida’s list is former Meyer offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, who got Mississippi State bowl eligible in his second season in Starkville. He hasn’t had time to build up much of a resume. And Mullen always seemed a little bit aloof when he was at Florida, which might make him a less than perfect fit with Foley and the rest of the UF athletic family. There’s one other potential strike against Mullen: He was not exactly a strong recruiter when he was here.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Robbie for the info! I’m not a huge fan of Petersen because of the BSU head coaching history. It appears once they head to major programs, they under-perform. I really like Whittingham and think he’d be a perfect fit, but I don’t know if he’s the type to want to blaze his own trail, or live in the shadow of Meyer his entire career (especially if Meyer does stay on in come capacity)

  2. Keep something else in mind when thinking who’d be a good fit…

    Foley insinuated yesterday here in Tampa that Meyer will still be on campus and be involved with the football program, going so far as to suggest he’ll have his own office on campus. Sounds very Bowden-ish to me.

    If that’s true, that Meyer’s staying on the UF payroll, you can bet your bottom dollar the pool of coaches is extremely shallow. There are very few names out there that would tolerate Meyer strolling the halls at UF, potentially looking over their shoulder. We can forget about the Grudens, Petrinos, Harbaughs, Pattersons, etc etc, and maybe even Boise’s Peterson. The two names I think fit Foley’s Meyer-included mold are Mullen and Whittingham. Personally, if it isnt one of those two, I think it’ll be a no-name that comes right out of left field.

  3. Don’t really care for either but if I had my choice it would have to be Whittingham. The recruits and players allready here would not have to do to much adjusting in forms of style of offense. I would much rather Dan Mullen or John Gruden. Certaintly not Peterson. He’s a great coach but not proven as a recruiter. Yeah he wins with 3 star players but this is the SEC and South with Huge recruiting competition. GO GATORS!!!

  4. There are hundreds of teams, hundreds of coaches, hundreds of coordinators. And that’s just college.

    I can’t believe with this many coaches out there, we would have unofficially pared the list down to 5 guys after 1 day.

    So, if Foley gets someone not on the list, will you assume all the guys on your list said no? Or maybe, just maybe, Foley has a different list? Possibility? Yes/No?

  5. As for Mullen being a bad recruiter, let him hire one a top recruiting coordinator to do the heavy lifting. After all, head coaches can’t recruit as much anyway. They are restricted. I am all in favor of a well-coached Mullen team that has a Rodney Gardner-type beating the bushes for players.
    ~
    Mullen might not have been much for driving 5 hours to sit in the rain and watch a high school football game, but I’ll bet he’d be just fine sitting in the head coach’s office shaking hands with players and their parents and offering scholarships. And if he had to make a visit to a player’s house, well, that would be scheduled and he could fly.
    ~
    And who’s to say this is even true? One coach said “He didn’t like to recruit, so I didn’t send him out much”. We know who that was, you know. It was the recruiting coordinator, Steve Adazzio. Who else would send him out? Maybe Meyer, but Urban would never make that comment.
    ~
    So, why didn’t Mullen want to go out and recruit? Maybe he was working on the offensive gameplan? Maybe he had film to watch? Maybe he had a meeting scheduled with the QB’s? Only getting one side of the story here.
    ~
    Seems to me that politics is getting in the way of a Mullen coaching hire, and that’s a shame. He is the right guy for the job.

  6. Here’s one other Mullen item to consider.
    ~
    Meyer was known for making a vast improvement in his teams in year 2. Guess what Mullen did at MSU in year 2? That’s right.
    ~
    Wait, here’s another. Cam Newton wanted to go to MSU, but his father’s greed got in the way. Picture Mullen’s team, that solid defense and strong running game, being triggered by Cam Newton. Miss State, not Auburn, would be looking at an undefeated National Title right now, and that’s in year 2.
    ~
    Did it ever occur to any of you that he was at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida with Urban Meyer? Maybe, just maybe, HE was the key to it all. Everything certainly fell apart after he left.
    ~
    Yes, I know we went 13-1 last year without him, but the offense was nowhere as good, while the defense was phenomenal and bailed us out of a lot of bad situations. Plus, we had Tebow and Spikes, who held the team together.
    ~
    I think we are about to see Dan Mullen become one of the truly outstanding coaches in CFB, and I want that to happen at UF.

  7. Strong would be better than Mullen. As I look back over these last two championships, I have to say, it really was the defense that got us by Ohio State and Oklahoma. Tebow and Harvin and Co were wonderful, but imo it was the defense that made those teams legendary.

    Accordingly, I like TCU’s coach the most. Petersen from BSU is second. Whittingham no freakin way. Mullen is better.

    Chip Kelly would be perfect but UF doesn’t have foreign child labor profits propping up their program.

  8. Those are as good a choice as any IMO. Don’t want an NFL coach because they’d bolt in a moment’s notice, don’t want Mullen because it’s time to get away from the Meter mindset IMO. Let the Meyer Era fade gracefully into the past. Stoops is the guy I want the most, as much as Boise State’s Peterson. Stoops is a HUGE recruiting guy and Boise St’s coach is extremely popular as a perennial underdog and firce competitor. Either one would be fine with me.

  9. I trust Foley to find the right guy, but dear God let him be an offensive innovator with a verticle passing game. As much as Urban won at Florida, I have to admit that the only season I enjoyed watching us play was 2008. Every other year, including and especially 2006, were painful to watch with every important game being a nail-biter because we seemingly had an offense designed to score “just enough”. A win/lose record is obviously the main criterion for success, but as a fan I want to enjoy watching us play and I largely haven’t under Urban Meyer. Sports are also entertainment, afterall. What’s wrong with having a great defense AND scoring 50 points a game?

  10. I agree with Lizardgrad89!
    Here is another thing to remember. Other than Riley Cooper the last two years does anyone remember a VERTICAL PASSING GAME? Ummm, that OC was Dan Mullen! Sure he threw the bubble screen, but he threw alot at defense. How many reverses did we do this year? Where was the vertical game? He made sure that Demps and Rainey got the ball even along with Percy. Her spreaded it around. And he is a good game changing coach that can adjust. How many times did you hear Urban say “Dan had to get me to open it up a bit”? If UM stays in the athletic dept its a no brainer to bring Mullen in. And dont forget he brought a MSU team into the swamp and gameplanned us into a loss. Outcoached and out motivated the UF staff. Dan has got to be the Man!

  11. Mullen beating us this year was easy. We couldnt play our way out of a paper bag. Mullen was almost as predictable as addazio at times and most women could guess his next play. Why oh why are so many wanting to go in reverse when we can have pretty much whoever we want. Jimbo fisher shouldnt even cross our lips. That would be bottom feeding.

  12. Petersen is a proven winner. He should be our #1 choice and I think Foley is right on the right track! We will start looking like the Gators from the 90’s by launching the ball down field and applying something different to the Spread. The spread works if you have the right pieces. So far it has worked at UF, AU and Oregon. Chances are that system will be figured out soon.
    Mullen would be my 2nd choice. He helped us win 2 NCG.
    And please, stop requesting Stoops. This guy is also proven he cannot win the big games. Stoops only has beaten Jack’s Seminoles and Petersen beat Stoops with the Statue of Liberty play. Stoops has also become predictable in games, and Kyle Wittingham, common, this guy is not proven at all. I would take my chances with Charlie Strong. He also helped us win those 2 NCG under Meyer. Don’t forget that it was defense what helped us win in ’06 and ’08.