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Sprints Looks at Bobby Petrino and Dan Mullen as Possible Replacements for Urban Meyer // 12.09.10

'Don't forget me!'
'Don't forget me!'


Earlier on Team Speed Kills
Urban Meyer Resigning Again?
Urban Meyer Resigns
Candidates to Replace Urban Meyer

The decision
Alligator Army live-blogged it with aplomb.

The off-field issues
Urban Meyer probably got a bit more of the blame than he deserved for the arrest rate -- though that goes with the territory -- and not enough credit for a pretty good graduation rate. However, it's hard to say that he was a rousing success when it comes to discipline.

Here's the thing
If you want to criticize Urban Meyer for something related to this decision, criticize him some for the players he recruited to Gainesville in the offseason and some for the coaches -- three of whom were hired before this season -- who are now wondering what their future holds. Even then, though, it's hard to blame him unless he knew he was going to retire this year, or was likely to.

Paul Myerberg's take
If you're a Meyer fan, you won't want to read this one. It's, um, tough.

His decision to return cost Florida a season, one that may alter the power structure in the Sunshine State for the near future. Florida State is a program on the rise; thanks to this season’s mediocrity -- the Meyer-led mediocrity -- Florida must dig itself out of a hole. ...

Meyer is gone, but it’s no big loss. Florida was falling apart under the seams under his watch, thanks to the poor job his staff did in acclimating a talented 2010 recruiting class to the incumbent roster coming off a 13-win 2009 season.

One thing I can't stand about Myerberg is that he never tells you what he really thinks.

You know, I can't really blame them
Apparently, the Sentinel had a hard time getting in touch with Bobby Bowden. So ...

"He's done as great a job at the University of Florida as has been done there, or anywhere else. I admire the way he handles himself and I really like his family. The college coaching profession will really miss him."

-Bobby Bowden, former Florida State head coach (reacting to Meyer's first resignation announcement in 2009) [Emphasis added.]

Generally, you could question whether it is within the bounds of journalistic norms to quote someone on the first retirement when dealing with the second retirement. But given the circumstances, and the unlikeliness of Bowden changing his mind, why not?

Be careful what you wish for -- and you know the rest
The Mayor goes a few steps down the road to paint this as almost unquestionably good for the Dawgs. As someone whose team would benefit from at least part of what the Mayor is talking about, I think he's going a bit too far.

In short, it is too early yet to know for sure, but there is the distinct possibility that two of Georgia’s three biggest rivals are about to get worse ... and Mark Richt is 9-1 all-time against the third. Skeptics have asked, somewhat sensibly, how the Bulldogs will be better in 2011. To that reasonable inquiry, I now respond simply: we don’t have to be better, as long as everybody else is worse.

We'll talk more about the impact on the East later, but that's tall words coming from the fan of a team that didn't have a winning record against Ron Zook.

The other extreme
It's a little hard to say based on a season that Florida was struggling and / or would continue to have a hard time winning in Gainesville. However, this is the part that a lot of SEC East fans who find themselves celebrating might do well to remember.

The short list at Florida, it seems, is Bob Stoops and Dan Mullen. Either one will bring a staff that's superior to what the 2010 Gators had, and I have no doubt that they're capable of carrying on the winning tradition in Gainesville.

It's hard to see the same athletics director who hired Ron Zook making the same mistake again. Then again, it is the same athletics director who hired Ron Zook.

When a word makes all the difference in the world
Florida fans who want Dan Mullen might have to at least see if the apparent first choice on Florida's list will say "no." And I'm not saying a word right now.

At the top of the list: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who according to a source was Foley’s No.2 option when he hired Meyer from Utah after the 2004 season -- and the No.1 choice when Meyer resigned last season before returning a day later. Petrino’s contract with Arkansas has a non-compete clause for teams in the SEC West Division -- but not the East Division.

Nope. Not saying anything right now. If this happens, I will have a lot to say, but I'll just be quiet for now.

Some Arkansas fans think Petrino might go
First of all, kudos to John Expat for making this statement, which is actually further out on this limb than I'd be willing to go.

My totally uninformed personal take is that if Florida offers the job to Petrino, he'll likely go. After all, Florida is a top five job and would be very hard to turn down, even if he has an undeniably good thing going in Fayetteville.

But I'm not sure that I buy this entirely.

If we dodge this bullet it could mean that Petrino will be at Arkansas for a long time...there aren't a lot of better opportunities out there than this one, and by all public accounts he seems quite happy with the situation he's in. Wouldn't that just drive the ESPN talking heads crazy?

This is just a quibble, but is it really that much of an accomplishment to be able to say that Petrino stayed at Arkansas because he couldn't get one of the offers that would drive him away? That seems like something far away from a stirring endorsement of his character.

Scott Stricklin is calmer than I would be
Dan Mullen says "he is 'absolutely' committed and happy in Starkville," according to Marcello, which would be encouraging for the Western Division Bulldogs if we had the full quote and if it had an actual denial in there. But AD Scott Stricklin is urging calm, so that should make everyone feel better.

State students make their pitch
It's an interesting tactic if nothing else.

It might help if they paid him something close to what Meyer was making
Or at least more than Florida is likely to offer Mullen, which will be much more than last or next-to-last in the SEC.

But can Florida beat Miami?
It looks like the Hurricanes could move quickly, which could leave Dan Mullen with a difficult decision to make.

Among the coaches who have spoken to UM about the job are Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, Connecticut coach Randy Edsall and Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

Bo Pelini seems to be the center of attention right now, but that could just be an attempt to outline the pros and cons of the latest names in the search. Miami needs to move quickly if they really want Mullen. If there's nothing by early next week, the Canes are willing to let Mullen go to Gainesville.

So I guess I need to apologize for my apology
Urban, please make up your mind. For those not following along: The last time Urban Meyer retired and detired, I predicted that it "will not end will." Then, for a while those concerns seemed overblown, leading me this summer to say:

If Zen Urban Meyer leads Florida to a 5-7 season because Yanni just isn't inspiring enough for a football coach, I reserve the right to pull a Joe Barton and retract this little mea culpa. ...

We'll see soon enough if there will be reason to issue another "mea culpa" on this post.

As I said back then: "Yes. Well."

I apologize for the apology, at least until such point as Urban Meyer changes his mind again, when I'll apologize for the apology for the apology.


The options for dealing with the Cammy-Cam Loophole
John Infante outlines the options for dealing with the issues raised by the Cam Newton decision.

Off Tackle Empire sees SEC and Up North Conference potentially splitting their bowl games
Fast version: Ohio State defeats Arkansas, Penn State and Florida even, Mississippi State favored against Michigan and Alabama defeats Michigan State. You can read the whole thing at the link, but remember that you'll have to read very, very slowly.