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.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.