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Gators could/should be targeting Petersen, Whittingham

Chris Petersen AP

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.

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15 Responses to “Gators could/should be targeting Petersen, Whittingham”
  1. blitz4848 says: Dec 10, 2010 3:32 PM

    They are both more than qualified and do fit the profile but the ‘best” pick is Charlie Strong.

    Strong was the backbone of out titles in 06 & o8. He is all about the D so with that in mind he could bring in a very strong(pun intended) Alpha OC and let him run with the O. Strong is young, smart, a very good recruiter and does well with parents on in home visits. Strong would be committed to staying the Gator HC for many years. Strong has been over the past 5 yrs one of the best defensive minds in college football.

    I would be willing to bet( I usually am) if Charlie is named HC our recruiting class will become a Top 5 class in a few weeks after his being named.

    Gator Nation would embrace Coach Strong

  2. gatorprof says: Dec 10, 2010 4:30 PM

    I agree 100% with blitz.

    People seem to forget that one of the reasons that Urban could hit the ground running from a recruiting perspective was Charlie Strong.

  3. WingT says: Dec 10, 2010 6:21 PM

    Whoever takes the job at Florida will be stepping into a big time ” pressure cooker’. The expectations of winning are off the charts at Florida – just like at Bama and a few other schools.

    It will take an extraordinary guy to step in and have immediate success at Florida. An entire coaching staff has to be assembled by the HC. Even though assistant coaches at Florida may be very willing to stay, the new HC still needs to sign off on them and re-assemble them into a new team of coaches. Recruiting is in full swing right now and will continue to be top priority until signing day in February.

    I think it takes at least a year, usually two for new coaches to come in and have success.

    Florida better get their guy in there quick.

    Roll Tide

  4. blitz4848 says: Dec 10, 2010 6:58 PM

    @ WingT

    We’ll have him before Christmas and if it’s Strong
    it will go very smooth as Urban will be around at least through the end of Jan to help with the transition and the recruiting. Strong recruited a lot of the kids on board and he knows their families well.
    If it’s a Petersen/Patterson/Whittingham type hopefully they will bring their entire staff unless that would be an excuse to get rid of one or two. Pay won’t be an issue as they all would probably more than double their salaries from TCU/Utah/Boise.

  5. WingT says: Dec 10, 2010 7:06 PM

    It will be really interesting to see who becomes the HC.

    If I were Strong I would stay at Louisville but I am sure it will be tempting for him to take what a lot of people see as the #1 coaching job in the country – Florida

  6. bamasucks says: Dec 10, 2010 7:34 PM

    Foley’s looking for someone that will, like Urban meyer, do it the “right way”? how many UF players were arrested on Meyer’s watch again?

  7. ohiogator says: Dec 10, 2010 7:41 PM

    I’d love Strong or Mullen. I think that would be the easiest transition for the football team going forward.

    How about Jim Tressel? Lets go get the vest!

  8. blitz4848 says: Dec 10, 2010 7:48 PM

    The Vest is the weakest part of the OSU program with his boring offense and close to the vest (pun intended) play calling. He would get eaten alive in the SEC.

  9. neverwas1 says: Dec 10, 2010 11:10 PM

    Why in hades would Petersen leave BSU? If you can make it into the NC conversation while playing the south dakota school of mines (JV team) all year long, just stay there…Funniest joke of the year is BSU acting like they don’t like the BCS system.. no team has benefited more from it…Chris is a smart guy, either he stays in Boise, eat cupcakes and preps for two games a year or moves to the SEC and has to earn it weekly when conference play starts…He should stay in Boise while the unrealistic fan base shouts unfairness…. as they don’t sell out a home game against teams liek toledo (in a 35k seat stadium with a track arond it with blue turf)… Chris, stay “true blue”… although you could probably do it, don’t leave the cupcake factory.

  10. oldbronco says: Dec 11, 2010 3:24 AM

    Maybe neverwas1 you should check your figures a little more closely!

  11. WingT says: Dec 11, 2010 9:09 AM

    You said …’Urban will be around at least through the end of Jan to help with the transition and the recruiting”..

    In my opinion, the sooner Urban gets out of there and away from the program , the better for the team. Even though Urban would be well intentioned, his presence will continue to cause confusion for the new staff.

    The worst thing that could happen for Florida is if Urban continues to hang around once the new HC is named.

  12. blitz4848 says: Dec 11, 2010 10:03 AM


    NOT if it’s Strong—that would be a huge benefit for Charlie and he would welcome the transition. Strong is his own person and would not fear Meyer’s presence. Agree if it is a total outsider and if it is Meyer and Foley will handle the transition appropriately……..

  13. WingT says: Dec 11, 2010 10:06 AM

    Makes sense regarding Strong.

    Who do you really believe becomes the next HC at Florida?

  14. blitz4848 says: Dec 11, 2010 10:36 AM

    There’s a lot of politics going on in the alumni assoc and among the big booster Bull Gators.
    There is a faction that wants Strong but unfotunately there are some that take “issue” with Strong as a HC. There is also a segment that want Mullen and from what I understand Mullen has people lobbying behind the scenes even while he is saying he loves Cowpattyville……

    I am supporting Strong but I think Foley believes if he goes “outside” of ex Gator ties he will be able to appease everyone.

    What is surprising is that Stoops has not taken himself out of consideration and would be Foley’s 1st choice if he knew he would accept.

    I don’t really have a good feel as there will be some interesting conversations going on around Gainesville the next few days.
    Between the awards show in Orlando and the bowl games in Florida Foley has been able to at least see some of the coaches in the running in person and gauge their interest.

    Addazio is all but gone as all the Gator $$$ brokers want to see him get a great job…… somewhere else.

  15. edgy says: Dec 11, 2010 12:18 PM

    I’ve got a feeling that the best coach for Florida will be the coach after this. I’m seeing another Zook situation where the boosters and alumni want someone else and Foley’s going to disappoint them. Urban wasn’t the first choice, either but he followed Zook while Zook followed Spurrier.

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