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.