It’s being reported that Dan Mullen is close to being the new Florida head football coach. Now what?
Why is it spelled Flrida? Because the football program lost the O.
That’s all about to change with a hire that should’ve happened a few years ago.
Jim McElwain was a curious hire for Florida.
He was just okay for Colorado State, he wasn’t known as a killer recruiter, and he wasn’t quite the mega-watt talent who could stack up with the Spurriers and the Meyers in terms of legacy talents.
No one really thought of him as a Next Big Thing prospect.
Even so, he was better than he received credit for, managing to get Florida to two SEC title games before all of the problems of this season.
Had Florida liked him more, McElwain might have survived – there was a built-in excuse that the team lost its top offensive talents before the season began, and just didn’t recover. And after all, again, two SEC East titles in the last three years was great no matter what.
But from all indications, McElwain just didn’t … fit.
Dan Mullen fits.
Mullen should’ve been the Florida head coach after the program moved on from Will Muschamp, but instead, he did the nearly impossible and kept Mississippi State good and relevant in a nasty SEC West.
It’s not like MSU is the Iowa State, Oregon State or Purdue of the SEC – places where it takes something amazing to be consistently great – but it’s not all that far off.
In a division with Alabama, LSU and Auburn, you’re seeing what’s happening this offseason to Arkansas and Texas A&M under the pressure and the weight of the division, and you saw what happened to Ole Miss as it bent things just a wee bit to be competitive.
And while all of that was happening, Mullen was rolling in Starkville.
He went 5-7 in his first year, then cranked up seven winning seasons in his next eight campaigns, going 5-2 in bowl games and making the program a rock-solid factor every year.
No, outside of 2014, there wasn’t much of a challenge to the true SEC power brokers, but the Bulldogs were consistently good despite the lack of Alabama talent, resources and revenue.
But now he gets a shot at the talent, resources, and revenue.
The Tebow whisperer during his time as the Florida offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer for four years, Mullen helped turn Dak Prescott into a star, was grooming Nick Fitzgerald into something special, and has a fantastic legacy of producing great offenses and excellent quarterbacks.
Great offenses and excellent quarterbacks – welcome to Florida.
But more than that, he’s known around SEC circles as one of the good guys. He’s got the right personality to fit in with what the fan base and the administration wants – Chip Kelly was never, ever going to be that guy – and he’s got the talent to be ready for that next-step-up job.
After nine years at Mississippi State, it’s time.
Just 45, he’s still a young head coach who’s just about to hit his prime. He obviously knows the SEC world, can punch his weight with all the big boys in the conference, and he’s the one to put the O back in Florida.
Yeah, Gator fans. Maybe the idea of Scott Frost would’ve been interesting, and Chip Kelly would’ve been wild, but this is your guy.