What Does The Future Hold For University of Florida Football?

James WalkerAnalyst IIDecember 26, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators directs play against the Florida International University Golden Panthers, November 21, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

It was bad enough that the Gator Nation knew that this was Tim Tebow's last season.  Then there was the loss in Atlanta in the SEC Championship game.  Now the Florida Gators have the task of replacing arguably the best coach in Florida Gators' history.

Farewell, Coach Urban Meyer.

Jeremy Foley, the Athletic Director of the University of Florida, now has the unenviable task of searching for the next head football coach of the Florida Gators.

Do you remember what happened the last time Foley replaced a football coaching legend in Gainesville?

Ron Zook.

Yes, the name that sends shivers down the spines of every Gator fan.  Hopefully, Foley has learned his lesson, and will not settle for a rookie replacement with no head coaching experience.

Regardless, the immediate damage to the football program will be devastating.  Forget the fact that Seniors Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, and Joe Haden were playing their last game; now Juniors Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Dunlap, and Major Wright will surely follow them out the door.  Others will follow.

There were several assistant coaches that had already announced their intentions to leave the program, most importantly Charlie Strong, the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator who accepted the head coaching job at Louisville.

The Gator Nation must be in a state of shock. 

Who could possibly take Meyer's place in Gainesville?

Let the Steve Spurrier talk begin.  Would the Ole Ball Coach return?  I don't think so.  It would be interesting to see Spurrier coaching John Brantley, Tim Tebow's replacement and current back-up.

Foley paid a visit to Mike Shanahan back when Spurrier resigned in 2000.  However, he's already a lock to become the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Jon Gruden?  Perhaps.  If they stick within the college ranks, why not look to Utah once again?  Last time I checked, Coach Kyle Whittingham has done a fantastic job replacing Coach Meyer at Utah.

What about recruiting?  The Florida Gators were certainly at the top of the recruiting battle, but now several high school seniors will reevaluate their choice and look elsewhere unless Foley moves quickly to name an immediate successor.

The Florida Gators will have an uphill battle regardless of who replaces Urban Meyer.