There are a lot of questions surrounding the stunning announcement of Urban Meyer and how it will impact the Florida football program. Questions abound dealing with recruits, the future of the program, potential replacements for Meyer, and many other issues. I will try my best to answer those questions here.
My initial thought is that it won't have a significant effect. This is a team led by seniors that have played in three SEC championship games and won two BCS National Championships.
Urban will keep this group focused and if they get a little distracted, I think ol' No. 15 will keep them in check. Going into this game the team was preparing for a circus like atmosphere because it will be Tebow's last game so I think the pressure was already there.
This will have a significant affect on Florida's recruiting, no doubt. The team was already hurt by the departure of Charlie Strong and the recent loss of wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales has been tough for the Gators. Gonzales was a popular young coach and probably Florida's No. 2 recruiter behind Meyer.
Gonzales was instrumental in bringing in Percy Harvin, Joe Haden and Andre Debose. This year he was the point man on Matt Elam, Gerald Christian, Demar Dorsey, Quinton Dunbar, Jordan Haden, Cody Riggs and Solomon Patton.
His departure coupled with the departure of urban Meyer certainly creates a question about whether or not these recruits stay with Florida and whether or not Florida could still land some of their key uncommitted recruits like Chris Dunkley, Ivan McCartney, Robert Clark, Christian Green, and Chris Martin.
No, it's not going to be Charlie Weiss. Not a chance. I also don't think it will be Mike Shanahan (he's an NFL guy), Bob Stoops (too entrenched at Oklahoma), Chris Petersen (can you say "Dan Hawkins"), Charlie Strong (the Gators would have hired him to replace Zook if they really wanted him), Dan Mullen (PR nightmare to leave Mississippi State after one season and I don't think they'd let him out of his contract), Jim Harbaugh (would piss off the more powerful boosters...trust me on that), Steve Spurrier (are you kidding).
Nope, the next Gator coach will be one of the following two men.....
Jon Gruden would make an excellent choice. He is still a relatively young and passionate coach with a high Q rating. he could be the next Pete Carroll (except Gruden was a success in the NFL).
Gruden would be an excellent recruiter and he is known in Florida. He still resides in the state and he is close to Meyer . He will certainly get the call from Jeremy Foley.
Urban Meyer was a great young head coach coming off a great run at Utah when the Gators hired him. Whittingham is a great young coach coming off a great run at Utah. He is still close with Meyer and served on his staff. Florida President, Bernie Machen is the former President of the University of Utah so I'm sure he wouldn't mind another Utah guy.
Whittingham would bring the same fire to recruiting and his offense would operate similarly to Meyer's offense which would appease current players and recruits alike.
If the Gators can't convince Gruden to leave Jaws and Tirico behind in the Monday Night Football Broadcast booth, then Whittingham is the guy,
Now I know my fellow Gator fans are passionate about their team and they will fret and worry over this situation. My only word of advice is this. Chill out. It will all work out. When Spurrier left, we thought the program would go to hell in a handbasket but you know what? It didn't.
Sure, Zook wasn't the guy but he wasn't the rake either. The bottom line is that Florida still has the best AD in Jeremy Foley, the best stadium, a great college town, excellent facilities, rabid fans, the SEC, passionate students and boosters with bottomless pockets (believe me, I used to work for one of them).
The players and assistant coaches will still be there and it's not like Miami and Florida State are any good right now. All will be fine Gator fans. Just enjoy the Sugar Bowl and remember that life will go on!