Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:56 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's time for one of those pieces of news that's more Rorschach Test than hard data: what do you see when you look at Jon Gruden chatting with Urban Meyer and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley at an Outback Bowl function?
Do you see ...
-- Foley and Meyer making a straightforward power play for one of the perenially hottest names on the coaching circuit?
-- Foley following the lead of his peers in the Miami athletic department and gauging Gruden's interest in coming to the college game as a prelude to potentially offering him the Gator job?
-- a discussion between three lifetime football guys about football issues, maybe even issues related to Florida, but without any real expectation that Gruden would be interested in the available coaching position?
-- a brief, cordial chat between three guys who just so happened to be in the same Tampa room at the same time and just so happened to be an available high-profile football coach, a second high-profile coach football who had just resigned, and the athletic director responsible for replacing the latter with someone like the former?
Since we've got absolutely nothing to go on other than the fact that Foley, Meyer, and Gruden happened to be sharing the same space -- a space in which which all three had good reason to be, what with the Gators playing in the Outback and Gruden living in Tampa -- and a few words of conversation, it's more than a little premature to assume Foley was offering Gruden the keys to one of the richest kingdoms in all of college football.
But it also seems unlikely that Foley, who's sworn he's going to conduct an exhaustive search for the Gators' new head coach (despite needing just the one trip to Starkville, really), would be willing to chat up Gruden in a public setting and not at least float the possibility of Gruden's coming to Gainesville.
Whether Gruden would be more receptive to a ready-built program like Florida than he was the Hurricanes, well, that's another thing you might see between the blots and might not. But this much we know: Foley, Meyer, and Gruden have given us something to look at, and until the Gator search narrows or Gruden emphatically states "I'm not going to Florida," there's going to be plenty of staring.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 4:28 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The game of recruiting is one where sharks are forever circling any given team's targets and commitments, looking for the one hint of blood that could let them sway a given recruit in a given direction. And seismic news like Urban Meyer's resignation at a recruiting juggernaut like Florida is like tossing those sharks a huge bucket of chum.
This is a given. A coach like Jimbo Fisher at Florida State wouldn't be earning the full amount of his multi-million dollar salary if he didn't at least make a phone call to any Gator recruits who might be inclined to give his Seminoles a closer look given the turmoil in Gainesville. But it's not every day one of the sharks comes right out and admits, as Fisher did at a Chick-Fil-A Bowl press conference today, that yes, he's going to be one of the ones circling (emphasis added):
As Fisher points out, the 2011 recruiting cycle is so far advanced at this stage that there's a limit to how much he and the Gators' other rivals can benefit. But that doesn't mean the 'Noles won't be thrilled if they can get a second shot with Florida commitments like one-time FSU target Nick Waisome, a four-star defensive back from Groveland, Fla., or a better shot with hotly-pursued uncommitted Lake City, Fla. defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.
One player is always just one player, but given how badly the 'Noles embarrassed the Gators in this year's season finale and how well the Seminoles have already recruited this cycle, every recruit that widens the gap between the two programs makes it that much harder for whoever takes over in Gainesville to regain the Gators' dominance of the state. When their rivals aren't even bothering to disguise their intentions of exploiting Meyer's departure for maximum effect, it's obvious how quickly Jeremy Foley will need to find Meyer's replacement ... and how badly he'll need to make the correct choice.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While I went over the emotions running through Starksville earlier today -- emotions athletic director Scott Stricklin is trying to soothe -- Mississippi State isn't the only school in the country worried that Urban Meyer's latest resignation will affect its football program. Louisville is also the home of a former Florida coordinator under Meyer, Charlie Strong.
Strong's name is likely to come up at some point during the coaching search, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich knows it. Which is why he's planning on doing whatever it takes to keep Strong in Kentucky.
“He brings everything to a job from A to Z,” Jurich told The Courier-Journal. “I will do everything in my power to make sure he stays because he is a perfect fit for this city and this university.”
Of course, just because Louisville wants to keep Strong, that doesn't mean it will be able to. The lure of coaching at Florida is a strong one, as it's easily one of the top jobs in the country, if not the best job in the country. Florida could also offer Strong a lot more money than he'll make at Louisville, which is always a nice card to play when luring a coach.
So even if Jurich does everything in his power to keep Strong, I'm not sure he has the power to pull it off should Gainesville come calling.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:23 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Outback Bowl became a lot more interesting on Wednesday with the news that Urban Meyer would step down as Florda's head coach following the game. The true irony, of course, is that the opposing coach is Penn State's Joe Paterno, who still has not retired at the age of 83 [note: Paterno will turn 84 on December 21]. But while everyone spends the foreseeable future discussing the future of the Florida football program, the Nittany Lions will prepare to face the Gators of the present.
Step one in that preparation was naming a starting quarterback. After the signal calling duties were split throughout the season between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, but Paterno has named McGloin the starter for the team's bowl game on New Years Day.
“I think that Matt is the quarterback,” Paterno said in a bowl teleconference earlier this week. “Now the other kid (Bolden) has a lot of ability, but he is a true freshman in the truest sense of the word – he wasn’t even here for spring practice. He came in and unfortunately we had to start him a few games early until the other kid (McGloin) started to show some promise."
So talk all you want about Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen, Winston Churchill, or the Ghost of Tim Tebow, but the Outback Bowl will still be about the 2010 Gators against the 2010 Nittany Lions. If anything, Penn State has gained a competitive advantage from the new off-field distractions out of Gainesville. For a team that struggled in the big games this year, the Nittany Lions will take every advantage they can get.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 5:43 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Urban Meyer stepping down at Florida does not just affect the Gators football program. No, it can be felt throughout the SEC, specifically at a school like Mississippi State. Though it's still early in the process, you can bet that former Florida coordinator and current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen's name will be coming up as a replacement for Meyer in Gainesville.
Which is just the latest twist in the roller coaster ride that Mississippi State fans have been on for the last few weeks. Now, I could sum it all up in words, but words are boring. So instead I present to you "Life As A Mississippi State Fan" in MS Paint. Because pictures are worth a thousand words, so get ready for like 1,400 more words.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 3:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With the news that Urban Meyer has resigned/retired at Florida (delete as you personally see applicable), the Dan Mullen sweepstakes has a new almost-certain winner. The Gators will likely see Mullen as their Nos. 1, 1A, and 1B candidates, and there's no better fit -- and no place that can pay him more money -- for Mullen than his old stomping grounds in Gainesville. From the outside, it appears to be the kind of marriage that'll have both parties at the courthouse before anyone even knows they're courtin'.
That may be great news for Gator fans who would be happy to sacrifice Meyer if it meant replacing Steve Addazio' s hapless play-calling with Mullen's tried-and-proven offensive acumen, but it's a terrible blow for Mississippi State (who given their financial constraints will have no chance of keeping Mullen if/when the Gators come calling) and a big one for Miami as well. Depending on which reports you believe, the 'Canes had made Mullen their top candidate after being turned down by Jon Gruden , and given his offensive pedigree and performance in Starkville, he was the option with the best combination of availability and likelihood of success.
If he's off the board, where might Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt turn? A flurry of reports out of South Florida have identified the candidates currently at the forefront of the search. (The 'Canes will apparently risk receiving another sternly-worded letter from Donald Trump , as Mike Leach is not among them.) Taking them one coach at a time, and assessing their chances of eventually taking their talents to South Beach:
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville has a strong Miami connection, having coached there for eight years and winning a national-title as a defensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson, and would certainly be capable of preserving the team's defensive improvement under Randy Shannon. He would almost certainly accept the job if offered, as whispers have indicated Tuberville has been campaigning hard for the job behind the scenes. (Then again, Tuberville's agent is infamous rumor-starter Jimmy Sexton, so take that with a grain of salt.) The problem is that Tuberville is already 56, with his best coaching days behind him, and has struggled at times putting together a working offensive staff. Would he cause enough of a splash?
Randy Edsall, UConn: Then again, if the 'Canes are seriously considering Edsall, making a splash isn't high on their list of concerns. Edsall would maintain Shannon's sense of rugged discipline, with an old-school grinding running game to match, and there's no doubt he's wrung the most out of his fledgling program. But the Huskies haven't actually been "good," even by Big East standards, as much as they have been the team least-prone to shooting itself in the foot.
Kevin Sumlin, Houston: Sumlin is a young, charismatic coach with an exciting up-tempo offense that ought to put butts in seats; he should be able to immediately connect wit hthe 'Canes fickle fanbase in a way the above candidates might not. But he's also by far the least proven, having made his name by maintaining Art Briles' previous good work at Houston.
Al Golden, Temple: Golden's resuscitation of the Owls is one of the most impressive feats of college coaching of the past few years, and he's young enough that he could be a cornerstone for Miami for years and years to come. But there's a strong sense -- bordering on consensus -- that Golden is waiting for Joe Paterno' s retirement for a shot at the Penn State gig. After Turner Gill' s struggles at Kansas , it's also worth wondering if rebuilding jobs in the MAC are easier than they're made it out to be.
Mike Stoops, Arizona: In what might be seen as a too-close-for-comfort parallel with the Shannon era, Stoops's steady year-by-year improvement project in Tucson took a minor step backwards this year. But Stoops' sideline antics prove he's got the energy for the job, and his reclamation job with the Wildcats has been impressive. But Miami may not be able to pay him much more than Arizona can, and there doesn't seem to be as much buzz as there is with the candidates above.
And that, for the time being, is the list (though the reports also agree that other candidates are likely on the radar screen). There's a few reasonably solid options there, and at this point you might have to consider Tuberville the favorite; he has the biggest name, the strongest ties, and likely the most intense interest. But if Mullen is truly no longer in the picture, Hocutt might also have to get creative to stave off the perception that the Gators stole his hire's thunder clean out from under him.
Tags: Al Golden, Arizona, Dan Mullen, Dan Mullen to Florida, Donald Trump, Florida, Florida coaching search, Houston, Jon Gruden, Kevin Sumlin, Kirby Hocutt, Miami, Miami coaching search, Mike Leach, Mike Stoops, Mississippi State, Randy Edsall, Randy Shannon, Steve Addazio, Temple, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, UConn, Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer resigns, Urban Meyer retirement
Posted on: December 8, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 2:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The college football world was rocked today when the University of Florida announced that Urban Meyer would step down as head coach after the Gators' Outback Bowl match against Penn State on January 1. A press conference is scheduled for later this evening.
The announcement comes nearly a year to the day after Meyer's last resignation from the school, and like last year, Meyer's current resignation appears to be health-related. While Meyer doesn't specifically mention health in his resignation, he also makes no mention of any future professional aspirations, just to spend more time with his family. Moreover, as Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch reported today, sources close to Meyer indicated that he appeared to be in poor health once again, suffering from various stress-related maladies. In other words, it's extremely unlikely at this point that Meyer's resignation is a sign that he's a candidate for the Denver Broncos (featuring third-string quarterback Tim Tebow ) or that his impending availability had anything to do with the firing Josh McDaniels earlier this week.
And again, Meyer has announced that he will at least coach through the end of this season, so Florida fans dreading the words "interim head coach Steve Addazio " can at least rest easily. The Florida job is high-profile enough that the school will likely have its pick of candidates, so any downtime between Meyer's stepping down and the new coach's hiring should be minimal -- think a couple weeks or so.
Here's Meyer's statement, released through the university:
Tags: Denver Broncos, Denver Broncos Urban Meyer, Florida, Florida Interim Coach, Gators Interim Coach, Josh McDaniels, Josh McDaniels Fired, Outback Bowl, Penn State, SEC, Steve Addazio, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer Denver, Urban Meyer Quits, Urban Meyer Resigns, Urban Meyer Retires, Urban Meyer Steps Down
Posted on: December 7, 2010 2:18 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 2:27 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This time of year, it's standard for coaches who aren't committed to leaving their current positions but who also aren't committed to staying in them, either, to issue a non-denial denial, something along the lines of "I'm happy where I am" or "I'm not looking to leave [School X] right now." Sure, it sounds nice, but the gap between statements like those and the iron-clad "I'm going to be here next year/I'm not going to take that other job" is still easily wide enough to drive the coach's moving vans through.
None of this is news to longtime college football fans, of course. And of course, Urban Meyer doesn't need to use any of that kind of double-talk when it comes to his own employment; he's not going anywhere.
But this may be the first time a coach has put those kind of statements to use to discuss someone else's employment. Meyer has been asked repeatedly in recent weeks about his intentions to retain or dismiss under-fire offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, and though he's consistently stated he plans on keeping Addazio in his current position, he's also consistently left the door open to making a change.
The most recent example came on an Outback Bowl teleconference yesterday, when Meyer addressed the situation like this:
Meyer said Monday that right now he anticipates Addazio staying in that position next season.This much we can say: Meyer has not decided to keep Addazio as his OC for 2011. "Expecting" is not the same as knowing. "Further updates" are most certainly not the same as it being a done deal. So cheer up, Gator fans: there's still a chance that Addazio could get the hook, and judging by how gently Meyer is tiptoeing around the subject, there might even be a good chance.
We're not going to tell Addazio to keep the moving company's number around, because he's been invaluable to Meyer as a recruiter and assistant head coach; if he loses the coordinator's chair, it's far more likely he's simply reassigned within the staff rather than told to leave Gainesville entirely. But we also wouldn't recommend Addazio have any new business cards printed up any time soon.