Candidates to Replace Urban Meyer as Head Coach at Florida: Mullen, Strong,

With Urban Meyer announcing his surprise resignation from Florida, one of the prime coaching jobs in college football becomes available. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley will join Miami athletic director Kirby Holcutt chasing after some of the top coaches in football to see who will take over their programs. Here is a list of some of the top coaches in college football who may be considered for the position:

Dan Mullen, Head Coach, Mississippi State: Mullen was Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Bowling Green, Utah, and then followed him to Florida where they had tremendous success. Unlike other assistants who fail in head coaching jobs, Dan Mullen went 5-7 in his debut at Mississippi State and then led them to an 8-4 season this year, their best in a decade. Miami is also said to be targeting Mullen who stands to get a big pay raise.

Charlie Strong, Head Coach, Louisville: Was Urban Meyer’s defensive coordinator his entire time at Florida until this past season. Strong was actually on Ron Zook’s staff and retained by Meyer, so he has slightly less ties to Urban than Mullen. Left for Louisville and improved their record from 4-8 under Steve Kragthorpe last year to 6-6 in his head coaching debut. May need more seasoning before leading a huge program like Florida.

Bob Stoops, Head Coach, Oklahoma: When Urban Meyer stepped down for a brief period last year, Stoops was one of the first names mentioned. A former defensive coordinator at Florida under Steve Spurrier, Stoops has been extraordinarily successful at Oklahoma. He’s won a national title and reached seven BCS bowl games. He would be my first call, but he’s been at Oklahoma since 1999 and is not likely to leave.

Bobby Petrino, Head Coach, Arkansas: Never met a coaching offer he didn’t like. Petrino returned to Louisville after a stint as offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars and turned the Cardinals into an offensive juggernaut. After leaving Louisville for the Atlanta Falcons, he tucked tail and ran to Arkansas which came calling after firing Houston Nutt. Petrino has led the Hogs to a BCS bowl and has proven himself as an outstanding coach. Florida will probably want a coach whom they figure will stay at the school longer than the unpredictable Petrino would.

Other potential candidates based purely on record of recent college success:

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Georgia Coordinator Todd Grantham Gives Florida Kicker the ‘Choke’ Signal (Video)

There’s nothing quite like a coach acting like a child and getting bagged on camera.  My guess is Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham won’t be giving the choke signal to an opponent anymore after Saturday’s overtime loss to Florida for two reasons: he now looks like a complete clown, and he was trying to intimidate a 21-year-old college kid who showed how he cared by banging home the game-winning field goal.  Check out the video of Todd Grantham giving Chas Henry the choke gesture, courtesy of Deadspin:

There has been quite a bit of backlash over this already, and I think rightfully so.  Don’t get me wrong — it’s not the end of the world and Grantham doesn’t deserve to be fired.  It’s just one of those things that’s just plain stupid.  Players do stuff like this all the time.  It’s part of the game and you certainly wouldn’t want your child hearing and seeing everything that goes on down in the trenches during a game.  However, doing something like that just makes a coach look idiotic and immature.  Not to mention, Grantham set himself up for a college kid to publicly embarrass him , and that’s just what Henry did.

Video Credit: YouTube user O7shanksta13

Urban Meyer Says Florida Win Over Georgia Was Biggest They Have Had

For the first time since Urban Meyer took over the Florida Gators football program, they lost more than consecutive games in a season. The Gators got stomped by Alabama 31-6, and then lost tight games to LSU 33-29 and Mississippi State 10-7. The team had a week off to prepare for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against Georgia in Jacksonville and pulled off the win 34-31 in overtime to end their 3-game losing streak.

Florida went up 21-7 over Georgia going into halftime thanks to three second quarter touchdowns. Trey Burton gave the Gators a 31-24 lead with a 51-yard touchdown run, his second TD of the game. Georgia scored to tie the game at 31 and they headed to overtime. Florida got an interception on Georgia’s first possession of OT and then Chas Henry kicked the game-winning field goal to give Florida the big victory.

The Gators were emotional after the win, but nobody could have predicted the hyperbole coming out of their coach’s mouth. “This is the biggest win we’ve had, and we’ve had some big ones around here,” Meyer said. “People might say we’ve had some bigger ones, but I’d argue with that. This was the biggest win we’ve coached in a long time.”

Alright, I give it to Urban that that was an emotional victory and one of the biggest wins they’ve had in a while, but Urb’s coached in (and won) two national title games. There’s no way this game against Georgia was bigger than either of those. Yes, it would have been a disaster in Gainesville had they lost this game, but Meyer became a legend by winning those national titles. We all get caught up in the moments, but his remarks were incorrect.

Oh, and if you didn’t already know how awesome Urb is as a coach, he’s now 14-1 following a bye week. He’s also undefeated when it comes to making hyperbolic statements.

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Chris Rainey Not Part of Team After Arrest

Following the model of Elijah Dukes, Florida Gators receiver Chris Rainey was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated stalking. Rainey went over to his on-and-off girlfriend’s place after she missed his call. The two apparently talked for 10 minutes before she asked Rainey to leave. When he left, he sent her the now infamous “Time to Die Bitch” text message. The woman’s sister called police after the text message was received.

Florida’s offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has said Rainey “is not part of the team right now” following the arrest. Addazio’s words have been reported differently by others. AP writer Mark Long quoted Addazio as saying Rainey is “no longer a part of the team.”

The difference between the two quotes is significant. In The Gainesville Sun’s version, the implication is that the move is temporary. In Long’s version, the implication is that the situation is more permanent.

Knowing Urban Meyer’s history of weak discipline, I’m guessing this is a temporary situation. With the way Florida’s looked in their first two games, they’ll need all the play makers on offense they can get and Urb will do his best to get Rainey back on the field quickly.

Update: Gators: Rainey ‘not part of the team’ after arrest [The Gainesville Sun]

Video: Percy Harvin Slaps Urban Meyer on the Ass to Celebrate the Big Win

After Florida had scored their touchdown to make it a 10 point game, things looked like they were over. They officially ended when Oklahoma couldn’t convert the 4th down play with about three minutes left. After that pass was broken up, many of the Gators started celebrating on the sidelines. Perhaps the best celebration was expressed by Percy Harvin on his head coach, Urban Meyer. Check it:

Maybe coach will think twice next time before he slaps one of his own players on the ass. And what does that say for Harvin? That’s gotta take some balls to hand it to your coach like that. He must know he’s leaving for the draft to do something like that. Whatever happened to respecting our elders?

Urban Meyer Covers the Spread, Angers Randy Shannon in the Process

Many people could have been wondering what Urban Meyer was doing when he elected to kick a field goal with 25 seconds left and his Gators already up 23-3 against Miami Saturday night. Those people probably missed the bottom line: Urban Meyer was ensuring Florida would cover the spread (generally somewhere between 21-23 points in any given online sportsbook). With the only plausible argument being that he was “trying to get his kicker some work,” it was pretty obvious that Meyer was trying to please his boosters and alums who entrust thousands of dollars in the Gator program when they bet on football games. While I understood what Meyer was doing, Miami coach Randy Shannon wasn’t too pleased with the perceived act of poor sportsmanship:

Shannon didn’t mention Florida coach Urban Meyer’s name, but implied that Meyer’s decision to kick a field goal in the final seconds fired up some UM recruits who called him after the game.

“Sometimes when you do things and people see what kind of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off,” Shannon said Sunday. “Take from that what you want. It helped us more than you will ever know.”

As a Hurricanes fan (yes, prior to attending UCLA, I had a favorite college football team), I was quite pleased with Miami’s performance in the game. Sure, the final score doesn’t look pretty, but it doesn’t tell the whole story; it was a six-point game through three quarters, 9-3, and Miami’s defense looked stingy. If the offense were able to move the ball in the least bit, the Canes would have had a stronger chance. I’ll tell you, there was a lot more to be encouraged about with Miami’s performance in the game, as opposed to Florida’s. Just another example of Florida’s new legacy under Meyer, I suppose.

UPDATE: Tim Tebow chimes in to defend Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer’s New Recruiting Methods

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Meyer were the coach of the Texas State Armadillos. But I guess when you’ve won a title recently, you can do pretty much anything you want. So in some new form of campus outreach, Meyer’s holding tryouts where he’s asking Florida students to run the 40. The 15 fastest students will be brought back on Saturday to race against Meyer’s three fastest players — Louis Murphy, Chris Rainey, and Deonte Thompson. If any one of the students beats a player, they will receive a full scholarship. Considering the top three students ran 4.47, 4.48, and 4.49, I’d be slightly worried if I were Meyer. Think about it: one slip, and one of these students could easily win. Either that or they could try jamming a rocket up their ass.

Meyer is trying to brand his squad as “the fastest team in America.” I get that. You may have thought I was joking with the title, but Urban’s truly trying to market his team as such in order to attract a certain type of recruit. The team is playing its spring game on Saturday and it will be televised by ESPN. No doubt they’ll be talking about the races and showing footage of them. Personally, I think a scholarship should be awarded if one of the players outruns an actual gator. Now that would make for some good TV. Almost as good as Ocho Cinco racing a horse.