Talk of Florida’s vacant coaching position seemed to dominate the college football news cycle on Monday, as it probably should. The Gators’ gig is one of the best in the country with its history of national titles, SEC amenities and fertile recruiting base.
As tends to happen at times like these, every coach with any past connection to Florida or any coach viewed to be “on the rise” is mentioned as a candidate for this gig. Problem is that none of them are interested.
Or at least that’s what they’re saying.
Oregon’s Willie Taggart, a Florida native, is rumored to be a candidate. “I have not been contacted by anyone. The only AD I have been contacted by is Rob Mullens and I love that guy. I'm committed to the University of Oregon,” he said at his Monday press conference. Later in that linked story Taggart says his agent hasn’t had any conversations with Florida either.
What about Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen? He’s a former Gators offensive coordinator and was hired in Starkville by current Florida AD Scott Stricklin. “I’m really happy here,” Mullen said. “I think when you look at what we have in the program and the administration, I haven’t really thought much about it. I’ve been here long enough. As the year goes on it gets into that silly season and who is going where.”
Up-and-comer Mike Norvell of Memphis? He held a team meeting Monday to reassure his team that he’s only thinking Tigers right now. “People talking nationally about what you’re doing, that’s a positive thing for our program,” Norvell said. “Like I told the players … there’s no distractions. There’s no distractions from anything on the outside. The only thing that’s important to us is every person, player and coach, every individual is 100 percent focused on being 1-0 this week and the only way we can do that is by maximizing today. And so, we address it. I’m open with our team.”
And, of course, uber-up-and-comer Scott Frost was asked about the Florida job. “I haven’t heard from anybody,” he said Monday. “Those things might be hard for you guys to ignore, but they’re really easy for me to ignore. I show up to work and watch film and get practice ready and go out and do my best to get everybody ready and I don’t pay any attention to it.
“It would be a crime for me to do that with the sacrifices that our team and coaching staff made and the type of season that these guys are putting together. They deserve my 100 percent focus and they have it.”
So there you go. Some of the best coaches in the country this season are all, in some combination of words or another, very focused on the task at hand. Of course, there’s nothing else that could be said in these situations. Mullen can’t say, “I talked to Scott last night about the news, but now it’s time to think about UMass.”
But “focus” is the right word to use. There’s wiggle room there. I’m not focused on dinner right now, for example. But if somebody called and said they wanted to take me out for a steak when my work was done for the day, I’d be interested in that because I like a steak and don’t eat one that often. Wouldn’t be focused on it. I would know I wasn’t having steak immediately. But I would probably find a way to make that dinner happen at some point.
In fact, you could probably arrange this deal through an intermediary and I’d still be interested. If somebody else could arrange all the details for me, when the time was convenient I could just show up and have steak and that would be even better.
But right now? No, I’m not thinking about steak. I’m thinking about the Florida job and what they’re going to do now that so many people aren’t thinking about coaching the Gators.
The Grab Bag
- Good breakdown of Jim McElwain's exit in Gainesville by Andy Staples.
- "Florida absolutely has to hire a coach with an offensive background." Why? Why do people keep writing this? What if they hire Brent Venables and he hires a great offensive coordinator? Faliure?
- Tennessee AD John Currie discusses his current coaching situation in Knoxville.
- ICYMI: Monday updates on football, volleyball and basketball.
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