In the immediate aftermath of Urban Meyer‘s decision to again step down as Florida’s head coach, we were among the many who assumed Dan Mullen would be at or near the top of the list to replace the now-former head coach.
While that may ultimately be the case, it appears there are two other names who may have even more of an inside track to the opening.
According to the Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu — as connected a media person you’ll find when it comes to the UF football program — athletic director Jeremy Foley will be looking for that same “special connection” he had with Meyer six years ago that led to him leaving Utah for Florida. Andreu feels that connection will most likely happen with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham. More from Andreu:
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.
Whether or not Petersen or Whittingham — who took over for Meyer when he left for Gainesville and remains close to the coach — fits Foley’s current “profile” and the AD goes in the same direction as his last football hire remains to be seen, but no BcS conference school could go wrong with either of those two coaches.
In another intriguing note, Andreu writes that Mullen appears to be slipping as a candidate. The Mississippi State coach’s lack of a resume’, aloofness while at UF and not being a great recruiter are all cited as the reasons for the apparent slippage. And, not that our words carry as much weight as Andreu’s, we’re hearing the exact same thing. We’re told that, if Mullen does indeed end up with the job, it will be because others have turned Foley down.
Could that behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt be why Mullen is “happy at”, “absolutely” committed to Mississippi State? In the not-too-distant future, I guess we’ll find out.