GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS4) – When Gator nation awoke Thursday morning, the shock of head coach Urban Meyer leaving was finally starting to subside. Now, the focus of every Florida Gators fan turns to who will be the next coach at UF.
The Gators will likely be focusing on Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. The former UF offensive coordinator took a bad Bulldogs team and turned them into a solid team heading to a bowl game this season.
He’s an Urban Meyer disciple who could keep the exact same offensive system in place, but bring a more creative play-calling style to the Gators than the team had under Steve Addazio.
The other coach who could be on the radar is former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. He led the Gators defenses for years and every time, they were one of the best defenses in the country. He would bring with him a hard-nosed style that the Gators desperately need.
Strong would also be the first African-American head coach hired at one of the largest SEC schools, which could only help the stature of UF both on and off the field.
Past those two, it gets a lot muddier trying to figure out who the Gators might look at. The familiar names have been floated including: Boise State’s Chris Petersen, TCU’s Gary Patterson, and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.
While Stoops does have ties to UF, he’s not going to leave his cushy gig at OU. TCU is finally getting into a BCS automatic qualifying conference it will dominate, so they aren’t likely to go either. Petersen could be a wildcard, but he’s built a powerhouse out there and may not want to leave a basically lifetime job at Boise.