Multiple current Florida Gators tweeted the same exact emoji on Sunday night at just about the exact same time, leading to a bunch of speculation and questions. What were they tweeting about?
First, here are five Florida players tweeting the emoji with a finger to the chin:
Do you think maybe the players have been told something has happened? pic.twitter.com/fXPA9g0efo
— Mark Wheeler (@InsideTheGators) November 20, 2017
Here’s a Florida recruit, WR Anthony Schwartz directly referencing the Chip Kelly report:
— Anthony Schwartz (@anthony_flash10) November 20, 2017
All the chatter around Gainesville is that the Gators are zeroing in on Chip Kelly. In fact, the son of a man on Florida’s search committee sent the following tweet Sunday:
As of Sunday, Chip Kelly has agreed to be the 27th head coach for the University of Florida football team. Welcome to #GatorNation Chip.
— Tyler Fawbush (@fawbusht) November 19, 2017
Another reporter came through with a similar report:
Been told twice tonight that they expect the Chip Kelly saga should wrap up directly with him being named the new head football coach of the Florida Gators. Hardly official, but these two are pretty reliable.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) November 20, 2017
Whether the players were told something or were just reacting to a report is unclear, but there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Kelly going to Florida.
Florida may be feeling some additional pressure to hire a new coach now that UCLA has also fired Jim Mora and is in the market. Reports on Sunday are saying the school has intensified efforts to hire Chip Kelly.
Football Scoop reported that Florida is “advancing discussions” with Kelly.
Sources tell FootballScoop, Florida is advancing discussions with Chip Kelly…https://t.co/Og0AeOKY4K
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) November 19, 2017
The Buddy Martin Show reportedly that Florida’s top officials flew to New Hampshire to meet with Kelly and offer him a contract.
The Buddy Martin Show has learned from anonymous sources that Florida’s top officials have flown to New Hampshire and are on the ground meeting with Chip Kelly, presenting him with a contract to sign and become Gator football coach. @thebuddymartinshow #chipkelly
— Buddy Martin (@buddyshow) November 19, 2017
Dating back to last week, we have said that Florida was interested in Kelly and planning to vet him as a candidate for their job. Rumors have also tied Kelly to UCLA over the past year. As soon as the Bruins fired Mora, Florida gained competition for Kelly and had to act.
The other coach Florida reportedly was strongly considering was UCF coach Scott Frost. However, there is competition from Nebraska for Frost, who used to play quarterback for the Huskers.
- Chip Kelly
UCLA made a surprising announcement on Sunday that Jim Mora has been fired as the school’s head football coach. With the team one win away from bowl eligibility and coming off a close defeat to rival USC, it seemed like an odd time to fire the head coach.
So why is UCLA making the move? They obviously want to go in a different direction, and they want to make sure they’re in the mix for the top head coaching candidates before its too late. One such candidate could be Chip Kelly.
Over the past year, Kelly has been mentioned as a possibility for UCLA. He has been out of coaching since being fired by the 49ers after one season. He took a year off, but is he ready to return? Some are figuring UCLA could land the former Oregon head coach.
UCLA is my bet to win the Chip Kelly sweepstakes, IF he's really ready to come back to college.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 19, 2017
Although he left the Eagles in disarray somewhat, Kelly won 10 games there in his first two seasons. He took Oregon to new heights, including the national championship game. There is very little doubt about his ability to succeed at the college level.
Kelly would excite any fan base, not to mention recruiting base. We know Florida was vetting Kelly as a head coach. Now there’s sure to be competition for his services.
As a UCLA fan, this is pretty much the only coach I would fire Mora for. Maybe the Bruins know something.
- Chip Kelly
Steve Spurrier was hired as an ambassador and consultant for the University of Florida athletic department last year, so it would stand to reason that he will have some say in who the next head football coach of the Gators will be. And given what the former national champion said about the coaching search this week, it may be time to rule out Chip Kelly.
During an interview with “The Buddy Martin Show” on Wednesday, Spurrier said he is “almost 100 percent” certain that the next coach at Florida will be someone who is currently coaching another team.
“The coach is with his team now. The coach we’re going to hire is probably, I would almost 100 percent say is coaching his team today, this weekend, and through the end of the season, and maybe through the bowl game,” Spurrier said, according to FootballScoop.com.
There has been a lot of talk about Spurrier stumping for UCF head coach Scott Frost to get the job. Frost has coached the Knights to a 9-0 record this season and has them ranked No. 14 nationally, but Spurrier insists he is not endorsing any particular candidate.
I am not recommending anyone for the job. We all have complete confidence that Scott Stricklin will make the best choice for our school – and we will support his decision 100 percent. https://t.co/GREyvfIfFW
— Coach Steve Spurrier (@SteveSpurrierUF) November 15, 2017
A number of names have been mentioned in connection with the Florida job, but Kelly’s has created the most buzz. If Spurrier, who won a national championship with Florida in 1996, is that certain about the next Gators coach being with another program at the moment, it is probably safe to rule Kelly out.
Given some of the things Spurrier has said recently about the Gators, you have to wonder if he and Kelly would clash.
Could Chip Kelly be the next head coach at Florida? He reportedly is in the mix for the job.
The Gators fired Jim McElwain two weeks ago and have gone 0-2 under interim coach Randy Shannon. They’re in the market for a new head coach and are in the process of examining candidates. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel names Kelly, Scott Frost and Dan Mullen as the top three candidates for the job.
In fact, Thamel says Florida has begun vetting Kelly by making “calls to NFL executives to do general background on Kelly and exploration of his NCAA issues at Oregon.”
Kelly is one of the biggest names in all of coaching. He is sitting out the season as a coach after being fired following a 2-14 showing with the 49ers last year. However, he went an incredible 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon, taking the Ducks to new heights, including the national championship game. He also went 10-6 in each of his first two seasons with the Eagles.
Kelly left Oregon amid an investigation into violations, which led to him receiving an 18-month show cause penalty. That matter is not expected to be a huge deterrent for teams interested in hiring him.
Thamel believes that the timing of what Florida does will tip their hand about their rankings of coaching candidates. He says that if they want Kelly, they can reach a deal with him in the near future. However, if they prefer Frost, they would likely wait until after UCF finishes its regular season out of respect for the coach’s pursuit of an undefeated season in Orlando. Mullen has enjoyed tremendous success at Mississippi State, but he is well compensated and has rebuffed interest from other programs in the past.
As Butch Jones’s position grows more and more tenuous with Tennessee, talk of potential replacements is beginning to heat up.
One popular name for any high-profile opening will be former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who is currently serving as an ESPN analyst after his firing by the San Francisco 49ers. Jones is still employed, so it would be premature to say anything is close, but Kelly has at least talked about the Tennessee opening.
We know this because his ESPN colleague Paul Finebaum said so.
“It’s an awkward kabuki dance every Sunday morning about 7:15 when I bump into him, because I have the same response wherever I have previously been,” Finebaum told WJOX 94.5, via Michael Wayne Bratton of Saturday Down South. “I say ‘Chip, I was in Knoxville yesterday, saw a lot of signs with your name on it. Anything new?’ He says, ‘Haven’t gotten a call yet.’
“I mean, I’ve talked to him. I don’t want to speak for him because I don’t know him that well… I think he clearly wants to coach. He’s up there (at ESPN) studying college football, and I do believe he will be back very quickly.”
Kelly has, in the past, kept his focus on NFL jobs. That may change if a big college job comes available, and he’ll be linked to any that do.
H/T The Spun
It has been more than four years since Chip Kelly coached a game at the collegiate level, but his presence is still being felt on the Oregon campus.
The Duck Store on Oregon’s campus apparently is not yet equipped to read the new data chips on credit cards. For now, customers are kindly asked to swipe their cards. You can probably see where this is heading:
Well played, Duck Store. LOL pic.twitter.com/MlZaaNkwdj
— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) August 7, 2017
While Kelly’s coaching tenure in the NFL wasn’t exactly a success, he led the Ducks to a 46-7 overall record in four seasons and won the Rose Bowl then Fiesta Bowl in his final two years with the program. It will be interesting to see what fans think of Kelly in his new role this season, but he’s always going to have a special spot in Eugene.