Florida’s struggles this year are glaring. Numerous fumbles from bad snaps, games against bad teams that were closer than they should have been, only six points against Alabama and dropping one at home to an LSU offense that had been about as bad as Auburn’s in 2008.
Many fans have called for John Brantley to be replaced by Trey Burton. I say back off the kid. It is not his fault that his coach is overrated. Yes, I know that Trey Burton has been dubbed “Tebow-lite,” and many believe that a second coming of Tebow will bring the Gators back to prominence.
However, Tim Tebow was not the reason for Urban Meyer’s success. Yes, I know that Tebow was 34-7 as a starter, was the first sophomore to win the Heisman, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing Tebow. Heck, I’m a huge fan of his. But he was only the starter for three seasons. Now tell me who was with Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, and is now no longer there.
If you guessed Dan Mullen, then you are correct. Mullen was a key part of the offensive coaching staff at those three schools when Meyer was the head coach. Offense is what Urban Meyer is known for.
These past two years, it has been gone from average in ’09 to pitiful in ’10. Surprise, surprise. 2009 was the first year that Dan Mullen wasn’t part of Urban Meyer’s coaching staff.
Now "Dan the Man" is bringing the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-2, 1-2) back to respectability.
I watched many of Florida’s games last year (a.k.a. Year One without Mullen), and the writing was on the wall.
With no wizardry from Dan Mullen, the Florida offense looked anemic. It was painful to watch at times, especially give the offense's potential. Maybe Dan Mullen could have unleashed it.
Their ranking as one of the best in SEC was just on paper, aided by early-season blowouts over Charleston-Southern and Troy. They were utterly too predictable, running the same option play countless times a game.
Florida and Meyer were able to win on sheer talent until they ran into the monster that was the 2009 Alabama defense. This year, without that dominating talent, the offense is even worse.
Poor Steve Addazio has way too much on his hands. He should be moved back to just offensive line duties, and a new offensive coordinator should be hired. Preferably a genius like Gary Crowton, Mike Bobo or Tony Franklin. (Just kidding about those three.)
Or better yet. Get rid of Urban Meyer, and bring back Dan Mullen to the Swamp as the head coach.
Urban Meyer and Florida are now no longer feared in the SEC. Coaches around the league are figuring him out and out-coaching him. The Gators are lucky that they get South Carolina and the HBC at home. But Florida will still probably lose. They are also lucky that Georgia and Tennessee are very weak this year.
Mississippi State may not be exactly feared, but a lot of thought now goes into preparing for their offense. Dan Mullen has instilled confidence and hope in Starkville. It looks like a bowl game is in the works for the Bulldogs.
With Florida, UAB, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss left on the schedule, Mississippi State could be 8-4. They went 5-7 last year with one of the hardest schedules in the nation, playing LSU and Florida very close. Mullen’s first recruiting class was ranked in the top 25 by both rivals and scouts.
He will most likely be hired by a major program in the next few years (how 'bout Georgia?).
One last interesting tidbit: This year’s Florida Gators team is like the 2006 national championship team. Above-average defense, decent receivers, a freshman quarterback who takes short yardage snaps, a freshman receiver who is one of the best athletes on the field and a drop back passer in the spread offense.
The only difference is that in 2006 Meyer and Mullen were able to make the spread offense work for Chris Leak. Meyer and Addazio haven’t been able to do the same for John Brantley. If Mullen stays, then maybe Florida goes on to win the national title in 2009?
Dan Mullen is in fact returning to the Swamp next week. Only it is as Mississippi State’s head coach. I would not be surprised if State pulled off the upset in the Swamp this coming weekend.
The Bulldogs came close to the upset last year, and there is no Tim Tebow or Brandon Spikes around to save Urban Meyer this time. Now if only Cam Newton had gone to Mississippi State, then this game would be quite the merry old reunion.