The picking off of Florida and Oklahoma coaches began today. Florida Offensive Coordinator Dan Mullen will be named the new coach at Mississippi State tomorrow. Not to say that losing a coordinator wasn't expected, but we figured the first job would go to Charlie Strong, who is totally deserving of a head coaching position somewhere, though we wish he will stay.
Truth is, many people had been calling for Mullen's firing after the loss to Ole Miss, as evidenced here, and here. But then, Mullen backed away from his play caller from last season, and decided to use the arsenal of weapons he has on offense: Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps, Aaron Hernandez, to name a few.
This could be a huge distraction for the team headed into the BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma next month, as it's not clear yet whether Mullen will stay on with the team through the game.
On one hand, if he stays with the team, how much of his attention will be on the title game, and how much will be with working on buliding his own staff and hitting the recruiting trail?
On the other hand, if he doesn't stay with the team, who will take over the play calling for the national title game?
Is this a catch-22? Possibly. But we are sure Urban Meyer will come up with something so that this doesn't become a distraction for a well-oiled machine heading into the game in Miami.
The real question though: Who will Meyer choose to replace Mullen as offensive coordinator next season? We've got a short list of people we would like to see calling plays for the Gators come 2009.
- Kerwin Bell: The former Gator quarterback, and current head coach at Jacksonville University. He coached at Trinity Catholic, where Tim Tebow's backup, John Brantley was his quarterback. He built a winning program at Trinity Catholic, and is working on building the program at Jacksonville. We think he could be a good fit calling plays for his alma mater.
- Gus Malzahn: Current offensive coordinator for Tulsa. The guy has the most efficient quarterback in the country (yes, ahead of Sam Bradford and Tebow). He is also seen as an offensive genius, and while it's more likely he will take a head coaching job somewhere, it would be interesting to have him and Meyer collaborating to run this high-powered offense.
- Billy Gonzales: The current wide receivers coach. What he has done in his years as wide receivers coach is pretty impressive. He has 14 years of coaching experience, and could also fit in nicely in the coaching booth. He could be due for a promotion, especially since he has been one of Meyer's guys since his days at Bowling Green. It would be a good idea to keep the job in house.