Urban Meyer vs. Dan Mullen—that really is the question facing Florida fans today. It wasn't the best day for the Gators. The man they called head coach for six glorious seasons has resigned. Urban Meyer has decided to call it a day on his tenure with Florida.
But rest easy Gators fans, your days of college football dominance are not over by a long shot. Rumors are circulating that the head coach of Mississippi State could soon take over duties in Florida. While Urban Meyer is a tough act to follow, there is no better replacement than Dan Mullen. In fact, Mullen could turn out to be a better fit for the school than Meyer. Here is why.
Urban Meyer may have left because of the stress of the job. He even took a leave of absence last season when football took its toll on him. The fact is, Urban Meyer could not deal with the losses. Every one of them wore on his mind.
Dan Mullen is not built the same way. If he comes to Florida, it will be for good. It is clear that Mullen wants the job. He was the offensive coordinator for three years at Florida, and it is a much more prestigious job than the one he has now.
Once at Florida there is no where else to go—you are at one of the more storied programs in the nation. Anywhere else would be a lateral move. Dan Mullen gives you the knowledge that you will have one coach for a number of years.
The SEC is one of the most dominant conferences in college football. It takes a special person to be able to maneuver the ups and downs of every season. With so much competition, it is bound to drive some coaches mad. It may be the reason Urban Meyer has decided to hang it up.
With Dan Mullen, you get an SEC-tested head coach. Not only was he a crucial part of Florida's success, but he has lead the Mississippi State Bulldogs for a couple of seasons. There is no one out there more battle-tested.
Dan Mullen has to be your man, if only for the lack of coaching talent in the Florida stable. It is a good thing that Urban Meyer decided to stay out his tenure until the Outback Bowl, or the Gators might have had an uphill battle against Penn State.
Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio is the only likely candidate. But the Florida offense was wildly ineffective. There is no real immediate replacement available currently on staff...at least none that can take the reigns of such an impressive program. You need a coach who can handle the magnitude of the national scene.
The problem with losing a head coach is that is strains the consistency of a program. Losing a head coach of Urban Meyer's reputation further exacerbates the issue—but the change to Dan Mullen would be seamless.
After only two seasons, getting Mullen back is almost like promoting a coordinator, only this time you have the knowledge that he can make it as a head coach. Dan Mullen meant almost as much to the Gators as Urban Meyer. Returning him to the post would make sense and continue the winning.
Look at what Dan Mullen has done with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Dan Mullen has put the program back into the national scene in just two years.
Mullen took a team that was 21-38 under Sylvester Croom and turned them into the No. 21 team in the nation. Now imagine what he could do to a program with the prowess and name of Florida. The recruiting gets a lot easier when you become a Gator.
The jewel in Dan Mullen's crown has to be the job he did with the Florida Gators from 2005-2008. During that time he was the offensive coordinator of the Gators. It was a period that Florida boasted the best offense in the land and landed two National Titles.
Keep in mind that he did a lot of this with Tim Tebow at the helm in 2007 and 2008. Tebow is known as a long thrower with accuracy issues, yet Mullen was able to make it work.
The 2009 campaign was more of the same domination that the Gators had the year before. They did not win the National Tile but won the Sugar Bowl for a second consecutive 13-win season. Of course, much of that credit is due to Urban Meyer. But one season removed from Dan Mullen's fine touch on the offense and the Gators have stagnated.
They have no where near the prolific offense that they once did. They are 7-5 coming off a blowout loss to Florida State. Perhaps the Gators are feeling the effects of life without Mullen already.
Dan Mullen was pivotal in snagging Tim Tebow. He has done just as good a job at his most recent post at Mississippi State. The man simply knows how to talk to young athletes. Having the full weight of the University behind him, Mullen will shine in this area.
The Gators would have some of the best talent for years to come. You can guarantee that they would snag a couple more National Titles during his tenure.
At Utah, Dan Mullen was the quarterbacks coach. The Utes had one of their best offensive seasons in school history under Mullen.
Quarterback Alex Smith went on to be highly sought after by NFL teams. Once drafted by the 49ers, we quickly found out that maybe Dan Mullen had more to do with Smith's success than we realized.
At Florida he found similar success with Tim Tebow. The man just knows how to get the most out of players. Tebow was only really questioned on his talent once he left Florida. With the Gators he bloomed. Perhaps there is something to be said about Dan Mullen and his quarterback magic.
Dan Mullen wins, and he wins with flair. The key to a successful program is to create a winning culture. Dan Mullen has brought that mentality everywhere he goes. From Utah to Florida and now to Mississippi State, wherever he lands turns to gold.
Two things are quite clear: The athletes love Dan Mullen, and they give him their best. That is really all the incentive you need to wrestle him from his current employer. It will also be those reasons that endear to Florida fans and players for years.